Unemployment Duration: The Historical Record

by: Mark J. Perry

From a comment by Publius on this CD post:

At a Joint Economic Committee hearing on Friday, Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested that median unemployment duration has declined simply because more people have lost their jobs recently, and therefore a large number have only been receiving unemployment payments for a few weeks, driving the average time of unemployment down.

That may or may not be true, but we do know for sure that in each of the last six recessions, median duration of unemployment went UP, not down (see chart below, click to enlarge).