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Policy: Labor

39 percent of unemployed workers have been out of work longer than 27 weeks

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Beltway Confidential,Jobs,Labor,Ashe Schow,Analysis

Of the 12.2 million Americans who were unemployed as of December 2012, 39 percent (4.7 million) had been out of work for 27 weeks or more, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.

These 4.7 million workers are known as the long-term unemployed, and are among the worst consequences of the Great Recession of 2008.

Report author Josh Mitchell noted that “relative to currently employed workers, the long-term unemployed tend to be less educated and are more likely to be nonwhite, unmarried, disabled, impoverished and to have worked previously in the construction industry and construction occupations.”

Mitchell further noted that “the long-term unemployed have much more in common with workers who are newly unemployed or workers who have become discouraged and dropped out of the labor force,” and suggests that “solutions to long-term unemployment may be effective for other workers who have experienced other forms of labor market distress.”

Mitchell also points out that the share of long-term unemployed during the Great Recession is far greater than at any other post-World War II period, peaking at 45 percent of the unemployed. Sadly, the long-term unemployed comprise the greatest share of unemployed workers.

Time for another “pivot” to jobs?

You can read the full report from the Urban Institute here.

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Ashe Schow

Commentary Writer
The Washington Examiner