According to the most recent unemployment figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people in the U.S. who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer remains stuck at 6.8 million or 46 percent of the total unemployed. No matter how you slice it, that's a staggering figure. In fact, it remains at the highest rate since the Department of Labor began tracking such figures in the 1940s.
Overall, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped in May from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent. However, most of the 431,000 jobs added last month were the result of workers hired on a temporary basis by the federal government to help with the census. Some labor experts say the real unemployment rate is actually closer to 17 percent when you factor in people who are either under-employed or have simply given up looking for work.
The real unemployment rate includes an indeterminate number of IT professionals who have lost their jobs in recent years and were unable to find steady work again. At least not at a wage that they'd become accustomed to earning or that they consider to be sustainable.
Anecdotally, some of the affected IT professionals say whatever jobs they were able to find - including a mix of full-time and contract work - were typically offered at a cut of 30 percent or more of what they'd been earning. After months and sometimes years of attempting to regain employment in IT, many of these same people eventually gave up and settled for work in other fields.
Some unemployed IT workers have managed to find work again, sometimes in IT, sometimes not, often settling for a lower wage in the hopes that as the economy improves and demand picks up that that they'll see their compensation lift. Other IT professionals who have maintained their jobs throughout the rollercoaster economy of the past decade have had to pick up the slack as IT departments have continued to shrink.
All the way around it's a tough situation. And even as the U.S. unemployment rate slowly improves, it's a safe bet that we'll never return to the go-go days of the Dot-Com era.