For Unemployed, Reality Is Anything but Positive

by: Michael Panzner

The V-shaped recovery just keeps getting better. With all the orders they are garnering and profits they are making, U.S. businesses are beginning to hire like gangbusters. Confidence and credit market conditions are also looking up. Pretty soon, I may have to change the name of my blog to Economic Euphoria.

Er, sorry, only joking. Conditions are not really improving, and the job market is showing few signs of a turnaround. In fact, as the the following post, "Checking In on Last Year’s Unemployed," from the New York Times' Economix blog, reveals, the reality on the ground is anything but positive:

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers has released its latest work trends report (.pdf) on the long-term unemployed, and the results are somewhat discouraging. (The title of the report — “No End in Sight: The Agony of Prolonged Unemployment” — was sort of a giveaway, though.)

The report concentrated on people who were unemployed as of August 2009, and checked up on their status as of March 2010. What happened to these folks?

Despite persistent growth in economic output since August, two-thirds of those workers — 67 percent — were still looking for work in March. Another 12 percent had given up and dropped out of the labor force entirely.

Just one in five — 21 percent — had found work, with about half of the newly employed able to find only part-time work.

Younger workers — who generally have a much higher jobless rate — were more likely than their older counterparts to have found work by March. This makes sense, given other statistics showing that there are lots of young workers who are unemployed, but that they don’t spend much time looking for jobs.

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Source: “No End in Sight: The Agony of Prolonged Unemployment,” John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

Most of the people who found new jobs waited months to do so. The chart below breaks up the newly re-employed into groups by how long it took them to find work:

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Source: “No End in Sight: The Agony of Prolonged Unemployment,” John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

You can find more charts and statistics about the long-term unemployed, and their financial and emotional states, here (.pdf).

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