Long-term Unemployment

Opinion: The Human Disaster of Unemployment

May 14 2012

By Dean Baker and Kevin Hassett
From The New York Times

The American economy is experiencing a crisis in long-term unemployment that has enormous human and economic costs.

In 2007, before the Great Recession, people who were looking for work for more than six months — the definition of long-term unemployment — accounted for just 0.8 percent of the labor force. The recession has radically changed this picture. In 2010, the long-term unemployed accounted for 4.2 percent of the work force. That figure would be 50 percent higher if we added the people who gave up looking for work.

Long-term unemployment is experienced disproportionately by the young, the old, the less educated, and African-American and Latino workers.

Report: The Enduring Consequences of Unemployment

Mar 29 2012

By Binyamin Appelbaum
From The New York Times

Our economic malaise has spurred a wave of research about the impact of unemployment on individuals and the broader economy. The findings are disheartening. The consequences are both devastating and enduring.

People who lose jobs, even if they eventually find new ones, suffer lasting damage to their earnings potential, their health and the prospects of their children. And the longer it takes to find a new job, the deeper the damage appears to be.

Not since the Great Depression have so many Americans been unable to find work for so long. But researchers have turned to the next-worst period, the early 1980s, to seek a better understanding of the likely damage.

Report: Long-term Hardship in the Labor Market

Mar 12 2012

From the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR):

Overall unemployment has ticked down slightly from the peaks of the recession, but long-term unemployment remains historically high, threatening the long-term economic security of workers and the country as a whole. A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research sheds light on the demographics of the millions of workers struggling with unemployment and under-employment.

 “Long-term Hardship in the Labor Market” breaks out workers considered long-term unemployed by the official BLS standard according to race and gender, education, and age. The authors also expand the conventional concept of long-term unemployment and capture further dimensions of long-term hardship including discouraged workers, workers marginally attached to the workforce, and workers who are part-time for economic reasons.

Graphs: Everything We Know About the Long-Term Unemployed

Feb 7 2012

By Derek Thompson
From The Atlantic

Understanding this chart: I'm tracking the growth in unemployment by DURATION with the shortest-term unemployed in orange at the bottom, and the long-term unemployed in blue at the top. I've indexed all numbers to begin at 100 in January 2007. Takeaway 1: People unemployed for 15-26 weeks (red) have doubled. Takeaway 2: People unemployed for 27 weeks and over have quadrupled.

See that graph? Click it. Print it. Tape it to your wall, and maybe give it some lamination. This is what the tragedy of long-term unemployment looks like, with the blue line tracking the quadrupling of those unemployed six months or longer.

Report: Official Estimates Underestimate Long-term Unemployment

Jan 12 2012

From the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR):

WASHINGTON - January 5 - The Great Recession pushed the share of the long-term unemployed (defined as being unemployed more than 6 months) to over 40 percent throughout 2010 and 2011.  But, a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that this standard measure estimate understates the extent of long-term hardship in the U.S. labor market.

"Long-term unemployment rates have been at unprecedented levels for two years now, but the full group facing long-term hardship in the labor market is likely to be at least twice as high as the official figure," said John Schmitt, a co-author of the paper and a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

The report, “Down and Out: Measuring Long-term Hardship in the Labor Market,” proposes a broader definition of long-term unemployment that encompasses the underemployed and those workers experiencing long-term hardship in the labor market.