By Sam Sanders
So it turns out that spending your days online is actually GOOD for the unemployed. A newly released study from the Phoenix Center, a self-described "non-nonpartisan non-profit research organization," found that broadband Internet use reduces the likelihood that unemployed people will give up looking for work by over 50 percent. And dial-up use reduces the rate of leaving the labor market by one-third. The Phoenix Center's web-site says one of the organization's long term goals is,"to demonstrate that consumer welfare is best mazimized by promoting free markets, competition, and individual freedom and liberty."
Speaking with Dr. George Ford of the Phoenix Center, one of the principal researchers in the study, shed some more light on those numbers. According to Ford, broadband and dial-up service had a positive effect on job seekers across different ages, races, socio-economic backgrounds and education levels. Ford added that Internet access helped those looking for work avoid becoming discouraged and that a high speed, quality internet connection is best.
The Internet can also help job-seekers with special needs: those without cars, or those with circumstances that keep them at home -- like children or disabilites. And for many, looking for work online is less intimidating than walking door-to-door around your hometown with a stack of resumes and a smile.
As the federal government begins spending $7.2 billion on expanding net availability nationwide, Dr. Ford hopes there will be an increase in broadband access in public places like libraries, which could have a positive effect on those who are jobless and can't afford their own computers and Internet connection. The study found public use of broadband has just as positive an effect on job seekers as it does on the unemployed using their home Internet connection.
And in the library, you might be less likely to distract yourself from the job search with Farmville.