Length of Long-Term Unemployment Reaches Record High

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The best news the government has to offer for the 15 million Americans looking for work is that unemployment has leveled off at 9.7% and is likely to remain around that level for the rest of the year. The fact that the jobless pool won’t grow more in size is little comfort, though, for those who have remained unemployed for a year, two years, even more.

The latest figures show the average length of time jobless Americans have been out of work has reached 31.2 weeks—the longest average jobless period since the government began collecting such data in 1948. In March, 44% of unemployed Americans had been without a job for at least 27 weeks. A year ago that figure was less than 25%.
It is estimated that more than half of the unemployed were permanently laid off from their previous jobs, meaning they have little or no chance of returning to their old work. The longer these people stay out of work the more likely they will remain that way, because they are unable to adapt to changes in the economy or potential employers will be scared off by the holes in applicants’ resumes.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
The Long-Term Unemployed (by Catherine Rampell, New York Times)
Signaling Jobs Recovery, Payrolls Surged in March (by Catherine Rampell and Javier Hernandez, New York Times)
The Growing Underclass: Jobs Gone Forever (by Catherine Rampell, New York Times)


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