The Endlessly Unemployed

Economix 01durationunemployed blog480 v2

Reflecting on the October jobs report released today, Bill McBride underscores a worrying sign:

According to the BLS, there are 5.00 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job. This was up from 4.84 million in September. This is generally trending down, but is still very high. Long term unemployment remains one of the key labor problems in the US. 

Catherine Rampell drills down on why:

The fact that fewer people are afflicted (even if the affliction is much worse) means they are a smaller, less visible political constituency. “There are fewer of us experiencing unemployment, but those who are are out a lot longer,” said Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas, Austin. “They then become increasingly isolated, which decreases the will to do anything because they are a less important group. If there were more people experiencing this, politicians might be more interested in doing something about it. That fact that they’re not doing something is making it worse, of course, so the problem just feeds upon itself.”