Average Amount of Time to Find a Job: 211 Days

According to an article from CNNMoney the average unemployed job-seeker is searching for 211 days before landing the next job.

“Job seekers are now out of work for an average of 30.2 weeks, or 7-1/2 months, up from a record high of 29.1 weeks the previous month. In fact, the average duration of unemployment has notched new records for the last 10 months in a row.”

While this number can be intimidating and daunting, it should be a warning sign for us. This is exactly why creating an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses is a good idea. None of us can predict the future and none of us are immune from hard and difficult times.

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12

But with or without an emergency fund, it is a good idea to have a plan of attack to handle some of those difficult “what if” scenarios. I was thankful to get a few months notice before I got laid off a couple years ago, and at that point Linda and I had a little planning meeting and we figured out how we were going to handle things financially based on a few possible outcomes.

Put simply our plan was to minimize our monthly expenses as much as possible, so we could live off of the severance and emergency fund money for as long as possible.

  • We finished paying off a car loan, which cut about $200 out of our monthly expenses.
  • We scrutinized every purchase and cut our expenses like crazy to eliminate any of the unnecessary expenses.
  • We already had a fairly small emergency fund built, but we added every extra dollar we could find to it while I still had a job.
  • I started an Ebay business to generate some side income (and to see if it was possible)

Thankfully my blogging business worked out and we really didn’t need to tap our emergency fund, but I am really glad that we were prepared.

If you are looking for a job, tomorrow we will look at some job websites to help you find a job – stay tuned.

How long did it take you to find a job? Got any other suggestions for covering the gap?

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  1. N.W.Journey

    Great article. It really is rough out there. My godfather moved to Atlanta in the big ‘rush’ when EVERYONE moved out there and he has been unemployed for at least 10 years. He had worked consistently up to that point and it seemed what hurt him was his age, he was in his mid-50s. Another family member was out of work for over 3 years and it seems her age was the factor. Do you have any tips for people who are going through this crisis who may be a little older, a lot less prepared, who are not as technologically savvy? (and who may have a hard time getting to be?)

  2. Bob

    NW, I know the market is tough – I have some friends and family in the trenches right now (I am sure we all do). Tomorrow’s article offers some job-finding websites, and I do plan on writing more on this topic as it is one that a lot of people are interested in and need right now…

  3. Steven W. Zachary

    That is great advice. You did what is the right budget plan for any time.

    When I have worked with people who lost their job, the first thing I tell them to do is give. They should volunteer at a place that brings them joy.

    When you feel good it projects and it will help you go into job interviews with confidence. Also, you can tell the prospective employer what you have been doing, which is a good ice-breaker and it will let the employer know you are a good person.

    Third, you might get noticed by someone who is able to hire you. Most jobs are gotten through word of mouth so you need to be in the right place at the right time.

    In my soon to be released book, Journey with Trust, I talk about how this concept has helped people who came to me in financial distress.

    [email protected]

  4. Ronald Dodge

    Good article for the most part. Too sad though as it seems to be mostly preaching to the choir. Maybe though, someone who isn’t already doing this sort of thing is waking up to this concept.

    For me, I look at the emergency fund as 3 parts. What are the 3 parts:

    1) Necessary living expenses (this is the part pretty much everyone thing of)

    2) The cost to repair/replace long-term assets such as your vehicle or different aspects of your home (Should use a realistic depreciation schedule to determine how much money per periodic time period to put into the fund to the extent as your financial situation will allow you to accomplish this objective). Yes, you should even put the land improvements portion of your property on this depreciation schedule given all man made items do break down and need to either be repaired or replaced.

    3) Other catastrophic issues, though medical type stuff typically comes to mind, but this can also cover other sudden losses too.

    Does this mean one should put the full amount into something like a Savings Account? I don’t think so as if you did that, your money wouldn’t be able to keep up with inflation and taxation. Some small amount may need to be in a saving account, but anything after that should be put into some form of investments that can get you enough money to offset inflation and taxation without making it too hard to convert it back to cash should you need it. How do I do this? For me, I been using Scottrade, which I do all of my own research, buying and selling. There could be a 3 week time period of the cash not being available to spend all together (from the time of selling the investment to the time it’s available for usage in the bank account), but the use of the credit card is there to cover that time gap. As for total cash penalty, it’s very nominal for me.

    For the total amount made up of all 3 items as my goal to get this emergency fund up to, one may consider it as maybe 5 years worth of emergency funding under the simplistic point of view, but under this scheme, it’s only a 1 year worth of emergency funding + coverage of necessary long-term assets and necessary major medical bills, should it happen. Currently, I have only 5% of the goal met.

    I would have more of it met, but debt still has been a major drag on the financial stuff, though the year of 2010 is the first year I finally starting to see the snowball effect of debt elimination and investment income. Even though 2010 started out as a rough year, it turned out to be our family’s very good year. Not only that, but I still have to meet retirement contribution requirements as well.

    Results of the 2010 year for our family:

    Long-Term networth value went up by $26.6k
    Short-Term networth value went up by $12.2k

    EF did take a couple of hits in 2010, to the point the focus has changed gears in 2011. It however only fell $1.3k even though it had a $4.2k hit to it. That’s cause it had a lot of income in it, even much higher than I expected when compared to the market benchmarks.

    Debt went down by $12.1k

    Contributions into retirement funds by both myself and my employer combined was $7.0k (before tax based). Long-Term investments also picked up an additional $11.9k in investment income on an after tax basis, that’s assumed to be 43.1% given during retirement years, that’s the expected marginal tax rate for federal and state combined based on current tax codes of federal and state combined.

    2011 goals:

    Continue with the Retirement Contributions as done before. This will make up about 28% of countable savings goal. This will also make up about $1.54 of the $3.65 residual daily income/(expense) improvement goal.

    Debt elimination by schedule will make up about 40% of countable savings goal. This will also make up about $0.63 of the $3.65 residual daily income/(expense) improvement goal.

    As for the remaining 32% of the countable savings goal, there are 3 basic options. More to retirement funding, more to debt, and/or put into emergency fund. Same is the case with the remaining $1.48 residual daily income/(expense) improvement goal. If earned income is only minimal, this will be very tough to meet. If earned income is significantly higher than what may be expected, this is going to be lot easier to accomplish.

    On the one hand, given what happened in 2010, I can work on putting money back into the EF, but yet, on the other hand, I can work on taking the mortgage down that much more. If I take the mortgage down that much more, enough to get rid of the MIP, I will meet both countable savings and the daily residual income/(expense) improvement goal as the daily residual expense will drop significantly with the MIP removed from the mortgage payment.

    The one thing that has me thinking of going the route of dropping the mortgage, I do have 3 month’s worth of cash flow demands in the emergency fund. If I was to lose my job via lay off, I would have about 13 weeks of severance pay plus unemployment benefits. For the first 13 weeks (if unemployed for that long), the unemployment benefits would end up going into the EF. After that, if still unemployed, then I would be taking from the EF to compensate the difference of the unemployment benefits and our cash flow demands. If I get employed with reasonable pay within the first 13 weeks, then the remaining severance pay from the time of re-employment will get put into the EF.