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Statistically speaking, unemployment levels are slowly improving in some areas of the country. For the most part, however, the job situation in much of the U.S., including Michigan, remains dismal. Millions of people who are ready, willing, and able to work have been out of jobs for months or even years. In many cases, the joblessness is due to business contractions or other circumstances beyond the worker’s control. And, unfortunately, the longer someone is out of work the harder it becomes to find a new job.

A law backed by President Obama seeks to end “unemployment discrimination” by allowing applicants to sue employers if they feel they were not offered the job due to their jobless status. The problem is more widespread than you may think. With 14 million people unemployed in this country, the concept of denying jobs to the jobless seems repugnant. Nonetheless, many job postings and job search sites have disclaimers essentially stating “jobless need not apply.” Want ads of this nature were recently banned in New Jersey, but the Democrat-backed job creation bill would add the threat of an anti-discrimination lawsuit to the list of reasons employers shouldn’t deny jobs to the unemployed.

Long-term unemployment can lead to crushing debt, crumbling relationships, and even affect one’s physical health (due to, among other things, a lack of employer-provided health insurance). Any measure that might help the unemployed return to the labor force deserves careful consideration.

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