The secret source of top labor in 2024

I created this video as part of a challenge issued by Erica Holthausen’s Mainstay Mavens group of professionals who create content to make small changes in our big world.

As I reflect on my own situation, having been laid off unceremoniously in October, and the situations of so many of my peers, I couldn’t help but think about the negative effects of long-term unemployment. However, I also thought of the tremendous upside to employers trying to fill the 8.9 million open positions (Mirza, 2024).

First, I empathize with all those who have experienced unemployment. It’s no fun to get rejection after rejection. The average time of unemployment went from 12 weeks back in 1990 to more than 20 weeks here in 2024 (Statistica, 2023). Some consider long-term unemployment to be over 27 weeks (Kelly, 2019).

Personal Effects of Long-Term Unemployment

It doesn’t take someone trained in psychological science to tell you that long-term unemployment has negative effects on one’s mental health. Unemployed people are more prone to anxiety and mood disorders and vulnerability to self-harm and suicide (Virgolino et al., 2022). One’s physical health may also decrease with a loss of motivation to maintain exercise, good eating habits, and sleep. This becomes compounded when unemployment benefits run out.

I personally found myself getting ill more often and struggling to manage my emotions through that sickness. However, I’ve been blessed to have access to healthcare and a supportive network of family and friends. Many do not have such luck.

Unemployement Bias

Unemployment Bias

Unfortunately, hiring managers have historically held biases against the unemployed (Freedman, 2023). Despite the rampant volatility in the pandemic and post-pandemic years, little consideration is given to those who lost their jobs due to market conditions, organizational changes, and the loss of some businesses and industries. 

Executives tend to favor pursuing candidates who already have jobs working elsewhere to entice them to join their teams. They have reported that unemployed people must have a problem if they haven’t yet been hired (Kelly, 2019). In reality, however, good, hard-working, conscientious people with a high degree of knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience try every day to get back to work, often despite their current and circumstantial mental health struggles.

Business owners and executives report that they fear losing their existing talent and having a labor shortage in 2024. However, they have access to a treasure trove of excellent talent. A pool of 1.9 million available people exists to close the 8.9 million job gap (Mirza, 2024). Even long-term unemployed people display resilience and can eagerly return to work, dust themselves off, and quickly add value as important human capital assets. 

They just need a chance. Before striving to plunder some other organization’s staff, consider that those candidates who have been networking, job hunting, volunteering, and striving once again to make a difference are ready, willing, and able to get to work for you. Offering a little stability by giving someone a chance to self-actualize can give an organization much more value than those people will receive in compensation.

You might also save a life.

Learn how you can build a motivated and productive staff for more revenue, faster results, and retention to ease those worries at


Freedman, M. (2023). Looking for a Job? Don’t Tell Them You’re Unemployed. Business News Daily. 

Kelly, J. (2019). The Hiring Bias That Nobody Talks About. Forbes. 

Mirza, B. (2024). US Weekly Jobless Claims: 217K. Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).

Statistica. (2023). Average duration of unemployment in the United States from 1990 to 2023. 
Virgolino, A., Costa, J., Santos, O., Pereira, M., Antunes, R., Ambrósio, S., Heitor, M., & Carneiro, A. (2022). Lost in transition: a systematic review of the association between unemployment and mental health. Journal of Mental Health, 31(432 – 444).

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