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[IWS] CRS: THE TREND IN LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT AND CHARACTERISTICS OF WORKERS UNEMPLOYED FOR TWO YEARS OR MORE [24 March 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

________________________________________________________________________

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

The Trend in Long-Term Unemployment and Characteristics of Workers Unemployed for Two Years or More

Gerald Mayer, Analyst in Labor Policy

March 24, 2014

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41559.pdf

[full-text, 28 pages]

 

Summary

One of the characteristics of the recession that officially began in the United States in December

2007 and ended in June 2009 was the unprecedented rise in long-term unemployment. The longterm

unemployed are often defined as workers who have been unemployed for more than six

months. But, many unemployed workers have been looking for work for more than a year or for

two years or more.

 

As the national unemployment rate increased during and after the 2007-2009 recession, so did the

unemployment rate for workers unemployed for more than 26 weeks. In April 2010, the

unemployment rate for workers unemployed for more than 26 weeks reached 4.5%, which was

the highest rate recorded since BLS began collecting data on long-term unemployment in 1948.

As the national unemployment rate has fallen, so has the unemployment rate for persons

unemployed for more than 26 weeks. From April 2010 to December 2013, the unemployment rate

for persons looking for work for more than six months fell from 4.5% to 2.5%. During the months

leading up to the 2007-2009 recession, the unemployment rate for persons unemployed for more

than six months was less than 1.0%.

 

In January 2011, the unemployment rate for workers who had been unemployed for more than a

year reached 2.3%. By December 2013, the rate had fallen to 1.4%. The unemployment rate for

workers unemployed for two years or more peaked in September 2011, at 1.3%. By December

2013, the rate had fallen to 0.8%. For both groups of long-term unemployed, the unemployment

rate in December 2013 was higher than immediately before the 2007-2009 recession.

An analysis of differences in the share of the unemployed who have been unemployed for two or

more years shows that in 2013:

• unemployed men were more likely than unemployed women to be out of work

for two years or more (12.8% compared to 11.9%);

• older workers were more likely than younger workers to be unemployed for two

years or more. While 8.2% of unemployed workers under the age of 35 had been

looking for work for two years or more, more than twice that percentage (18.2%)

of workers ages 45 and over had been out of work for two years or more.

• the percentage of unemployed workers with a high school degree who have been

out of work for two years or more (12.8%) was not statistically different from the

percentage of unemployed workers with a bachelor’s degree who have been out

of work for two years or more (13.5%);

• married unemployed workers were more likely than unemployed workers who

have never been married to be out of work for two years or more (12.9% and

10.9%, respectively); and

• unemployed black workers were more likely than unemployed white workers to

have been unemployed for two years or more (14.2% and 11.8%, respectively);

on the other hand, unemployed non-Hispanic workers were more likely than

unemployed Hispanic workers to have been unemployed for two years or more

(12.9% and 10.3%, respectively). Among workers unemployed for two years or

more, white workers were older than black workers and non-Hispanic workers

were older than Hispanic workers.

 

Long-term unemployment rates and the number of long-term unemployed have fallen since

peaking after the official end of the 2007-2009 recession. Monthly layoffs and discharges have

fallen below their pre-recession levels. The number of jobs has increased since the end of the

recession. But, the number of job openings is still below the monthly levels before the recession.

The increase in the number of jobs and drop in the number of layoffs and discharges since the end

of the recession may contribute to a reduction in the number of long-term unemployed. On the

other hand, the slower growth in job openings may slow the hiring of the long-term unemployed.

After a recession, as employers hire new workers, those who have been unemployed the longest

may be among the last to be hired.

 

An issue for Congress is whether to reauthorize the Emergency Unemployment Compensation

(EUC08) program, which expired at the end of 2013. Another issue may be whether to enact

policies that could increase the demand for workers and, therefore, reduce the number of longterm

unemployed. Other issues may include whether to adopt policies that may provide greater

incentives for employers to hire the long-term employed, create incentives for the long-term

unemployed to accept new employment, or ensure that the long-term unemployed have the skills

that employers need.

 

Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Overview of Data and Methodology ......................................................................................... 1

The Trend in Long-Term Unemployment ........................................................................................ 2

Reliability of Estimates of the Long-Term Unemployed........................................................... 5

Will the Number of the Very Long-Term Unemployed Rise or Fall?........................................ 6

The Number of Jobs ............................................................................................................ 6

The Number of Unemployed ............................................................................................... 7

The Number of Layoffs and Discharges and the Number of Job Openings ........................ 8

Characteristics of the Very Long-Term Unemployed ...................................................................... 9

Gender ....................................................................................................................................... 9

Age .......................................................................................................................................... 10

Education ................................................................................................................................. 10

Marital Status ........................................................................................................................... 10

Race and Hispanic Origin ........................................................................................................ 11

Citizenship ............................................................................................................................... 11

Industry .................................................................................................................................... 12

Occupation ............................................................................................................................... 12

 

Figures

Figure 1. Unemployment Rates: Total Unemployed and Workers Unemployed for More than 26 Weeks, January 2007 to December 2013 ......................................................................... 3

Figure 2. Unemployment Rates: Unemployed for More than 52 or 78 Weeks or for Two Years or More, January 2007 to December 2013 ......................................................................... 4

Figure 3. Monthly Average Number of Unemployed Workers: Total and by Duration of Unemployment, 2013 ................................................................................................ 6

Figure 4. The Total Number of Unemployed and the Number of Workers Unemployed for More than 26 Weeks, January 2007 to December 2013 ............................................................... 7

Figure 5. The Number of Workers Unemployed for More than 52 or 78 Weeks or for Two Years or More, January 2007 to December 2013 ......................................................................... 8

Figure 6. The Monthly Number of Layoffs and Discharges and the Monthly Number of Job Openings, January 2007 to December 2013........................................................................... 9

 

Tables

Table A-1. Labor Force Characteristics of Persons 16 and Over, Comparison of Calendar Years 2007 and 2013 ................................................................................................................... 15

Table A-2. Number of Workers Unemployed by Duration of Unemployment, Averages of Monthly Data, 2013 .................................................................................................................... 15

Table A-3. Characteristics of the Unemployed, Averages of Monthly Data, 2013 ........................ 16

 

Appendixes

Appendix. Data and Methodology ................................................................................................. 13

 

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 23

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 

 




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