Long-term joblessness is stubborn for many
The new research focuses on trends in long-term unemployment since the recession and was led by Andrew Schaefer, a doctoral candidate in sociology at UNH and a research assistant at the Carsey Institute.
“So we went back to 2007 and realized there is this story here, this shift in who the long-term unemployed were in 2007 and who they are today. The main impetus for writing this piece was the big shift that we noticed when looking at the long-term unemployed,” Schaefer said.
“We expected the recession to increase the percentage of people unemployed long-term. We didn’t expect to see that it is persistently high,” Schaefer said.
Certain groups were also affected disproportionately, Schaefer said. In 2007, about 35 percent of the long-term unemployed were women compared to 44 percent today.
To be considered long-term unemployed, a person has to be actively looking for work, meaning they have contacted an employer, submitted an application or had an interview.
By 2013, that number was 19 percent.
Schaefer said a lot of the long-term unemployed are families often relying on single bread winners. About 35 percent of the long-term unemployed are married, with or without children, and just over 30 percent of the long-term unemployed do have children.
“This group still seems to be large enough to kind of need something to be done,” Schaefer said, but there are arguments on both sides whether an extension of the benefits is the right way to go, as there has not been a reduction in the number of long-term unemployed.
“That is a big reason why some people kind of persisted in this unemployment because the jobs they put in time and effort to gain skills for are depleting,” Schaefer said.
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