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The Washington Independent

Long-Term Unemployment at Highest Recorded Rate

This morning, another round of jobless benefits expired, with Congress away and hope of the approval of a new tier diminishing. And Sara Murray of The Wall

Amandeep Coleman
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jun 02, 2010

This morning, another round of jobless benefits expired, with Congress away and hope of the approval of a new tier diminishing. And Sara Murray of The Wall Street Journal highlights one of the worst facets of the unemployment crisis: Nearly half of the unemployed — 45.9 percent, or 7 million people — have been out of work for more than six months, the highest proportion since the Labor Department started tracking the statistic in 1948.

For every day a person is out of work, not only does he and his family suffer from the effects of lost income, but the chances of his finding work diminish. And, unusually in this recession, long-term employment has not just hit retirement-age or very young workers, but every demographic class.

The number of long-term unemployed persons poses a serious policy problem now, though one Congress seems to have answered: It will not extend unemployment benefits any longer than 99 weeks in some states, but will likely continue funding extended unemployment benefits as stimulus. But the issue will also pose a serious policy problem in the future: What will Congress do if, five years from now, with the recovery well underway, there remain millions of people who simply cannot find work? Job retraining programs and hiring incentives present one partial solution, but if Congress continues to tighten the nation’s fiscal belt, such expensive programs might not be politically feasible.

Amandeep Coleman | Amandeep had never known a moment when she wasn't reading or making up stories, having been born into a family of readers. She took out a pencil and notebook during the now-famous blizzard and started writing down one of those stories. It was there that I began my professional life. Her first book was written after several rejections and manuscripts. She is a member of many writers' organizations and has received several accolades from her peers and the publishing industry. The New Yorker recently dubbed her "America's favorite novelist".

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