Long-Term Unemployment

Over 50, female and jobless even as others return to work, By Patricia Cohen, January 1, 2016, New York Times: “The latest signs of an improving economy were good enough to help persuade the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. But the better job market is not good enough to land Chettie McAfee a job.  Laid off at the start of the recession from the diagnostic testing firm in Seattle where she spent more than three decades, Ms. McAfee, 58, has not worked since 2007. ‘I’ve been applying and applying and applying,’ said Ms. McAfee, who has relied on her savings and family to get by as she fights off attempts to foreclose on her home. At interviews, she said, ‘They ask, ‘Why has it been so long?’’   At 5 percent, the jobless rate may be close to what economists consider full employment, but that headline figure doesn’t capture the challenges still facing millions of Americans who have yet to regain their footing in the workplace…”

Long-Term Unemployment

  • 40 percent of unemployed have stopped looking for work: Harris Poll, By Olivera Perkins, May 20, 2015, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Forty percent of the unemployed have given up looking for work, according to a Harris Poll released Wednesday. The poll, ‘The State of the Unemployed,’ was done for the Oklahoma City-based Express Employment Professionals. The national staffing company has 25 offices in Ohio. The survey takes a close look at the jobless in a time when unemployment rates are falling. This is the second year the company has conducted such a poll. Last year, 47 percent of people without jobs had given up looking. Robert Funk, the company’s CEO and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said the number is still too high, especially since the nation’s unemployment rate for April was 5.4 percent, down 0.8 of a percentage point from the year before…”
  • Many jobless (still) giving up looking for work, By Jeff Cox, May 21, 2015, NBC News: “About 40 percent of the 8.5 million jobless Americans have given up looking for work altogether. The revelation, contained in a new survey Wednesday showing how much work needs to be done yet in the U.S. labor market, comes as the labor force participation rate remains mired near 37-year lows. A tight jobs market, the skills gap between what employers want and what prospective employees have to offer, and a benefits program that, while curtailed from its recession level, still remains obliging have combined to keep workers on the sidelines, according to a Harris poll of 1,553 working-age Americans conducted for Express Employment Professionals…”

Long-Term Unemployment – New Jersey

Forever unemployed: Why N.J.’s long-term jobless rate remains among highest in U.S., By Erin O’Neill, April 5, 2015, Star-Ledger: “Alain Chahine lost his job two years ago. Since then, he said, he has completed more than 600 applications and sent 200 messages to his network looking for leads. Those efforts produced 18 interviews in 2013, 35 more in 2014 and 12 so far this year, Chahine said. But the number of full-time job offers to date? Zero.  ‘There’s nothing funny about the job search process,’ said the 57-year-old northern New Jersey resident. ‘You’re at the mercy of the process itself and that’s the frustrating part.’  Federal jobs reports point to a rebounding labor market, though the unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent in March. But the percentage of jobless residents out of work 27 weeks or more remains historically high…”

Older Workers and Unemployment

Losing a job is always terrible. For workers over 50, it’s worse, By Lydia DePillis, March 30, 2015, Washington Post: “At first blush, it wouldn’t appear that older workers have it all that bad in today’s economy. They got their start long before the economy’s Troubles really began seven years ago (or even 17 years ago). They had time to sock away money while times were still good.  The unemployment rate among workers over 55 is 4.1 percent, compared with 5.7 percent for the population overall, and labor force participation among older workers has been rising since the early 1990s. That’s arguably a better position to be in than that of a young person whose earnings potential has been forever damaged by starting out in the Great Recession.  But the headline statistics hide a harsher reality: older workers who do lose a job spend longer periods out of work, and if they do find another job, it tends to pay less than the one they left. A new survey from the AARP sheds a lot of light on how older people react to sudden unemployment, what their new work looks like, and why…”

Unemployment Benefits

Most of the unemployed don’t receive jobless benefits, NELP report says, By Olivera Perkins, February 4, 2015, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Only about 25 percent of unemployed workers received jobless benefits last year — a record low, according to a report by the National Employment Law Project. Contrast that with 2010, when 68 percent of workers received benefits, according to the report released Tuesday, which makes public policy recommendations often aimed at helping the long-term unemployed. People join the ranks of the long-term unemployed when they have been without work for at least six months. Just before the recession began in December 2007, 37 percent of the unemployed received benefits, the report said…”

US Unemployment

  • States focus on long-term unemployed, By Elaine S. Povich, November 18, 2014, Stateline: “Maybe it was Tony Stanley’s furrowed brow that was keeping him from getting a job. Or maybe it was his work history in many fields instead of just one. Or maybe it was that he was aiming too high, or maybe too low. The 50-year-old Norwalk resident has worked in a mental health center and as a security company employee, but has been unemployed for almost a year, nearly six months longer than what the federal government defines as ‘long-term unemployment.’ Imposing, athletic and impeccably dressed, Stanley picks up pocket change by refereeing high school basketball games, but he doesn’t have a full-time job. The overall unemployment picture has improved consistently since the end of the Great Recession, but the plight of the long-term jobless has proven difficult to address. With federal help, states are taking steps to help this population: In mid-October, the U.S. Department of Labor handed out about $170 million in grants to 23 agencies in 20 states for programs targeting the long-term unemployed…”
  • Unemployment rates fall in two-thirds of US states, By Christopher S. Rugaber (AP), November 21, 2014, ABC News: “Unemployment rates fell in 34 U.S. states in October, a sign that steady hiring this year has been broadly dispersed through most of the country. The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in just 5 states, the fewest since April. Rates were unchanged in 11 states. Steady economic growth has prompted more companies to add jobs, though the additional hiring hasn’t yet boosted wages. Nationwide, employers added 214,000 jobs in October, the ninth straight month of gains above 200,000. That’s the longest such stretch since 1995. The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 5.8 percent, a six-year low…”
  • Most US unemployed don’t get benefits: Here’s why, By Christopher S. Rugaber (AP), November 21, 2014, Sacramento Bee: “Even though the U.S. job market is gaining strength, there are still a lot of unemployed Americans. Yet only a fraction of them are receiving financial aid from the government. Fewer than 25 percent of those out of work are signed up for weekly unemployment benefits, a near-record low since the government began tracking this data in 1987. That’s a sharp turnaround from just after the recession, when as many as three-quarters of those out of work received help, a record high…”

Hiring Bias Against the Long-Term Unemployed

U.S. Bank tests new ways to fight bias against the long-term unemployed, By Jim Spencer, October 31, 2014, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “After a health insurance company laid him off in 2012, John Columbus spent the next 20 months answering as many questions about gaps in his résumé as about his years of employment. Then a friend steered him to U.S. Bank, which was piloting a White House initiative for hiring the long-term unemployed. ‘There are some companies that ask you for any involuntary termination,’ Columbus said. ‘Those companies never call back. U.S. Bank looked at me as a whole person with 30 years of experience.’ If Columbus, a 53-year-old New Hope resident, embodies the woes of Americans out of work for more than six months, the Obama administration hopes a new hiring drill at Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank helps the nation address an ugly legacy of the Great Recession…”

US Unemployment

  • Drop in unemployment raises debate on optimal rate, By Jim Zarroli, October 17, 2014, National Public Radio: “The U.S. unemployment rate has been falling steadily over the years. Down from the recession peak of 10 percent in 2009, it reached 5.9 percent in September. That’s getting close to what economists call the natural unemployment rate — the normal level of joblessness you’d expect in a healthy economy. But a lot of economists are asking whether the old rules about full employment still apply…”
  • Sept. unemployment rates fall in 31 states, By Paul Davidson, October 21, 2014, USA Today: “Unemployment rates fell in 31 states in September as the labor market rebounded after softening in August. Joblessness increased in eight states and was unchanged in 11 states and the District of Columbia, the Labor Department said Tuesday…”
  • Long-term unemployment persists, By Michelle Jamrisko, October 22, 2014, Sun Sentinel: “Leticia Vives thought her rise from teller to senior teller to manager during 23 years at Bank of America had earned her staying power, or at least the experience to find work elsewhere. Still jobless 18 months after being let go in a downsizing move, Vives is wondering whether she had either. ‘I just feel helpless,’ said Vives, 44, of Ansonia, Conn. ‘The more you are unemployed, the more helpless you feel.’ More than five years into the U.S. expansion, 2.9 million Americans are long-term unemployed, meaning they’ve been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. They make up 31.9 percent of all jobless, more than twice the average in records dating to 1948. Vives is among the 2 million who have been off the payrolls for more than a year…”

Long-Term Unemployment – New Jersey

N.J.’s long-term unemployed rate worse than 48 states, By Erin O’Neill, October 15, 2014, Star-Ledger: “Nearly half of jobless residents in New Jersey have been out of work for more than six months, according to a new report, a level that ranks the state among the worst in the country. The brief released today by New Jersey Policy Perspective notes the ‘long-term unemployment crisis is a national problem’ but found every other state except Florida fared better than New Jersey. Also, while the share of long-term unemployed in New Jersey has fallen from its peak in 2010, the brief found that drop has not been as sharp as it has nationally…”

Long-Term Unemployment

  • Rutgers report: Devastating impact of long term joblessness, By Hugh R. Morley, September 22, 2014, The Record: “A Rutgers University study released today provides a grim, detailed picture of the severe impact that long-term unemployment continues to have on the lives of millions of Americans more than five years after the end of the Great Recession. About one-third of the long-term unemployed workers — six months or more — in the study, based on surveys of unemployed and employed Americans across the nation, said they had been ‘devastated’ and suffered a permanent change in their lifestyle by their jobless experience. The study, titled ‘Left behind: The long-term unemployed struggle in an improving economy,’ found that one in five workers laid off in the last five years are still unemployed. And it showed how far long-term jobless workers slip compared with employed workers…”
  • Long-term job hunters still struggle, By Diane Stafford, September 21, 2014, Kansas City Star: “A ‘brutal’ legacy of the Great Recession — diminished living standards — endures for people who suffered, or still suffer, from long-term unemployment. According to a national report released today by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, one in five workers who were laid off during the last five years is still looking for work. While the American economy continues its slow recovery, about 3 million people remain in long-term job searches extending beyond six months. Two million of them have been job hunting for more than a year…”

Long-Term Unemployment

Long-term unemployed still at record levels, By Don Lee, September 10, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “It has come down to this for Brian Perry: an apple or banana for lunch, Red Sox ballgames on an old Zenith TV and long walks to shake off the blues. At 57, Perry has been unemployed and looking for work for nearly seven years, ever since that winter when the Great Recession hit and he was laid off from his job as a law firm clerk. By his count, Perry has applied for more than 1,300 openings and has had some 30 interviews, the last one a good two years ago. With his savings running dry, this summer he put up for sale his one asset — a three-bedroom house his parents used to own in this suburb of Providence. ‘I’m not looking for pity, just one last opportunity,’ said Perry, a boyish-looking man with bright blue eyes and a nasal New England brogue. The national economy, now in its sixth year of recovery, is gaining momentum and the unemployment rate has fallen sharply over the last year to 6.1%. But the number and share of people out of work for more than six months, the so-called long-term unemployed, remain at historically high levels…”

Joblessness and Unemployment

  • Long-term unemployment almost double pre-financial crisis level – OECD, By Phillip Inman, September 3, 2014, The Guardian: “The number of long-term unemployed in the world’s major economies has increased by 85% since the financial crash, according to the latest employment monitor by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD). More than 16 million people have been out of work for at least a year in the first quarter of 2014, up from 8.7 million before the crisis, or more than one in three of all unemployed across the OECD’s 34 member countries, the report said…”
  • U.S. job growth slips in August after months of bigger gains, By Nelson D. Schwartz, September 5, 2014, New York Times: “Once again, the American economy has managed to frustrate the optimists. After a series of positive economic reports in recent weeks, the Labor Department said Friday that hiring in August sank to its slowest pace since December, with employers adding 142,000 jobs last month. The vast majority of economists had been looking for a gain of at least 200,000 in payrolls, coming off healthy indicators for durable goods orders, construction activity and manufacturing in July and August. The unemployment rate did fall by 0.1 percentage point to 6.1 percent last month, but that was because more people dropped out of the work force rather than found jobs…”

Long-Term Unemployment

A drop in the long-term unemployed, By Floyd Norris, July 25, 2014, New York Times: “The long-term unemployment rate, which soared in 2009 to heights not seen since the Great Depression, is finally declining rapidly. The proportion of the work force that has been unemployed for at least 27 weeks has fallen to 1.98 percent, less than half the record high of 4.4 percent reached in 2010…”

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

  • House passes job-training bill, clearing for Obama, By Derek Wallbank, July 9, 2014, BloombergLawmakers criticized for a lack of productivity hailed an adult education and job training bill the U.S. House passed yesterday as evidence that Congress can get something done. The bill, which the House cleared for President Barack Obama’s signature on a 415-6 vote, authorizes $58 billion over six years for federal workforce development programs. It eliminates 15 programs still on the books, though most had become dormant in recent years. House lawmakers passed an earlier version of H.R. 803 last year. The Senate, after months of negotiations, passed an amended version in June. . .”
  • Congress is finally doing something about long term unemployment, By Danielle Kurtzelben, July 10, 2014, Vox: “Job training plays a curious role in American politics. On the one hand, nothing is less controversial than calls for a better-skilled workforce. On the other hand, over the years federal training initiatives have attracted a — somewhat deserved — reputation as a backwater of inefficient spending and unaccountable programs. But on Wednesday the notoriously unproductive Congress has passed a compromise Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. It’s a revamping of the Workforce Investment Act, the Labor Department’s main job training initiative. . .”

Long-term Unemployment

The odds you’ll join the ranks of the long-term unemployed, By Matt O’Brien, May 16, 2014, Washington Post: “Long-term unemployment is a terrifying trap that, even in the best of times, is difficult to escape. And it’s a trap that you can get stuck in for no reason other than bad luck. Today, there are still almost 3.5 million people who have been out of work for six months or longer and are looking for work. There isn’t a more urgent crisis, and there are three things you should keep in mind about it. 1. As former CEA Chair Alan Krueger found, the long-term unemployed aren’t much different from the short-term unemployed. They’re a little older and more of them are African-Americans, but they’re just about as educated and work in the same industries as everyone else who’s trying to find a job. 2. The long-term unemployed have a hard time getting companies to even look at their job applications, let alone hire them. . .”

Long-Term Unemployment

Long-term unemployed struggle to find — and keep — jobs, By Ylan Q. Mui, April 18, 2014, Washington Post: “For the long-term unemployed, finding a job is hard — but keeping one may be even harder. New research tracking people who have been out of work for six months or longer found that 23 percent of them landed a job within a few months of the study. But a year later, more than a third of that group was unemployed again or out of the labor force altogether. The findings are the latest in a bleak but growing body of literature suggesting long-term unemployment has become a trap that is difficult to escape…”

Long-Term Unemployment

States feel loss of jobless aid, By Jake Grovum, April 4, 2014, Stateline: “Despite bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate for reinstating emergency aid for the long-term unemployed, prospects remain dim in the Republican-controlled House. Meanwhile, the toll of the expired extended benefits on states is mounting. Five billion dollars of aid has been lost as of April 5, including at least $100 million for 13 states, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data from the National Employment Law Project, a group that advocates for safety-net programs. More than 1 million workers have exhausted their regular benefits and have not had access to long-term aid since the expiration took effect…”

Long-Term Unemployment

  • Out of work, out of benefits, and running out of options, By Annie Lowrey, April 3, 2014, New York Times: “Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job. Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods…”
  • For jobless LIers, desperation becomes way of life, By Carol Polsky, March 30, 2014, Newsday: “Growing numbers of jobless Long Islanders are struggling to survive with little to no income since extended federal unemployment benefits ended in December. Despite improving local unemployment rates and job growth, thousands of long-term unemployed are still unable to find work, and now many say they are running out of money to meet even basic expenses. A bipartisan compromise was reached recently in the U.S. Senate to provide extended benefits through May, retroactive to December, but it faces an uncertain fate in the House…”
  • Oregon food stamps, welfare numbers rose after long-term unemployment aid ended, By Yuxing Zheng, April 1, 2014, The Oregonian: “The number of Oregonians relying on welfare and food stamps rose slightly in January after long-term unemployment benefits ended in December. The increases illustrate the almost immediate impact local families felt after the federal unemployment benefits ran out, pushing families already living on the margins into welfare. Although not substantial, the January increases were some of the most sizable since Oregon began to see a slow and steady decline in the number of food stamps and welfare recipients…”

Long-Term Unemployment

  • Long-term unemployed watch coming debate over benefits closely, By John Fritze, March 22, 2014, Baltimore Sun: “The first thing Eric Miles lost was his Jeep. Then it was the apartment that he and his 12-year-old son called home. Since the federal government cut off jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed late last year, the 54-year-old East Baltimore man has moved in with his sister, relied on family to pay the phone bill and borrowed bus fare to go out and look for work. ‘You’re talking about $3.50 for an all-day bus pass,’ Miles said. ‘If you don’t have the $3.50 coming in, you don’t have it.’ Nearly three months after Congress allowed the benefits to lapse, tens of thousands of out-of-work Marylanders are hoping that a bipartisan deal to extend the program through May will win approval. But the plan could be doomed by opposition from some conservatives, who say the benefits create a disincentive for seeking a job, as well as a national group representing state unemployment officials…”
  • Senate to take yet another crack at passing jobless aid extension, By Karoun Demirjian, March 23, 2014, Las Vegas Sun: “Jeff Frischmann will wait and see if the newest version of legislation to extend emergency unemployment benefits passes the Senate this week. He knows that if it does, and ultimately becomes law, it will mean working out the bugs at his job. Frischmann, chief of unemployment insurance operations at Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, is confident, though, as he anticipates the flood of people returning to the system to file claims…”
  • Senate likely to tackle extended benefits this week, By Jack Katzanek, March 24, 2014, Press-Enterprise: “A measure to extend unemployment benefits for an estimated 2 million people, including probably more than 40,000 in Inland Southern California, is likely to be discussed on the floor of the U.S. Senate at some point this week, sources in Washington, D.C. said. A coalition of Republican and Democrat senators worked out a compromise measure on March 13 that would extend the unemployment benefits, which last for 26 weeks in California, for an additional five months. Congress was not in session last week, but the measure is on this week’s list of priorities…”

Long-Term Unemployment

  • Only 11% of the long-term unemployed find work again a year later, By Ricardo Lopez, March 20, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “In a sobering new study, three Princeton economists found that only 11% of the long-term unemployed in any given month found full-time work a year later. The paper, presented Thursday at a Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, offered a comprehensive look at the profile of the long-term unemployed. The lead economist behind the study is Alan B. Krueger, the former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors. The economists tested the hypothesis of whether a low supply of jobs or discrimination by employers contributed to long-term unemployment. The answer? Probably both…”
  • Jobs scarce for U.S. long-term unemployed, By Josh Boak (AP), March 21, 2014, The Tennessean: “A new study documents the bleak plight of Americans who have been unemployed for more than six months: Just 11 percent of them, on average, will ever regain steady full-time work. The findings by three Princeton University economists show the extent to which the long-term unemployed have been shunted to the sidelines of the U.S. economy since the Great Recession. The long-term jobless number 3.8 million, or 37 percent of all unemployed Americans…”
  • States have provided jobless benefits retroactively before — so why can’t they now?, By Stephen Koff, March 20, 2014, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The folks who administer unemployment compensation say that the start-stop-start nature of the latest jobless-benefits proposal in Washington would be unworkable in the states. That’s because, they say, it is the states, not the federal government, that must administer the benefits and deal with all the hassles, regardless of whether the benefits are paid for by the feds…”