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The Number of Long-Term Unemployed Americans Has Shot Up by a Staggering Percentage Since 2007 (Yes, Triple Digits)

“I don’t think we know the answer. But right now, I think everybody’s worst fears are coming true, as far as we can tell.”

The number of people who've been unemployed for short periods has fallen close to prerecession levels but the same can't be said for those unemployed long-term. (Stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics/Image source: New York Times)

For all the ballyhoo in some quarters about the unemployment rate dropping to a few ticks above 7 percent of late, the New York Times took a look at joblessness from a starker angle in a Saturday story titled "Caught in a Revolving Door of Unemployment."

The piece unpacks the lives of some Americans who haven't found work in a very long time — one hasn't found a job in five years and just filed for bankruptcy...but she's still looking. A common turnoff among employers is that these folks aren't working full-time in the midst of their searches for new jobs.

But arguably the most stirring stat the Times offered is the extent to which long-term joblessness has increased since before the recession hit. Are you ready for this?

213 percent.

More from the Times:

The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.3 percent, down from 10 percent four years ago. Private businesses have added about 7.6 million positions over the same period. But while recent numbers show that there are about as many people unemployed for short periods as in 2007 — before the crisis hit — they also show that long-term joblessness is up 213 percent.

And that's reportedly taking into account that the number of long-term jobless has fallen steeply from its recessionary high of 6.7 million, the Times said.

The number of people who've been unemployed for short periods has fallen close to prerecession levels but the same can't be said for those unemployed long-term. (Stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics/Image source: New York Times)

A newly unemployed worker has about a 20 to 30 percent chance of finding a new job, the Times noted; but after six months, the chance drops to one in 10, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

More from the Times:

Facing those kinds of odds, some of the long-term jobless have simply given up and dropped out of the labor force. , many researchers fear that this number could mean as much bad news as good. Workers over 50 may be biding their time until they can start receiving Social Security. Younger workers may be going to school to avoid a tough job market. Others may be going on disability, helping to explain that program’s surging rolls.

“I don’t think we know the answer,” Jesse Rothstein, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Times. “But right now, I think everybody’s worst fears are coming true, as far as we can tell.”

You can read the entire article here.

(H/T: New York Times)

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