Number of long-term unemployed hits highest rate since 1948

Forty percent of all unemployed Americans, at least 6 million, have been out of work more than six months. Many are so discouraged they have lost hope that a job exists for them.

by Ron Scherer
The Christian Science Monitor
January 8, 2010

New York–It is a national challenge: reduce the number of people who have been out of work for a long time.

On Friday, in the December unemployment report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the number of people out of work for 27 weeks or more hit 6.1 million Americans, or 40 percent of all 15.3 million jobless. This is the most since 1948, when the data was first recorded, according to the Department of Labor. On average, it now takes 20.5 weeks to find a new job – double the amount of time in the 1982-83 recession.

Many of the long-term unemployed are older workers, but some are the very young who were the first fired. A significant percentage of them don’t have a college degree, but some do. And many of them are now so discouraged they have lost their belief that a job exists for them.

Many feel shut out of the system

“It’s a real risk to the workplace,” says John Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the outplacement firm in Chicago. “We may be creating a permanent group of people who think there are no jobs out there, who feel they are shut out of the system.”

The article continues at The Christian Science Monitor.

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