The Real Reason There Are So Many Long-Term Unemployed?

long-term unemployed: crowd at a hiring fair

The average unemployed American now spends 35 weeks job-hunting, an amount almost double what it's been at any point before the Great Recession. And one thing that everyone agrees on: Even though more and more companies are hiring, people who have been unemployed for six months or more aren't getting those jobs, according to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

A lot of experts have explanations: The long-term unemployed have rusty skills, or they didn't have the right skills to begin with in our new computerized, knowledge economy; their networks have eroded; or, they're addicted to hand-outs. But new research suggests another possibility.

First the numbers -- for those unemployed for less than six months. As you can see in these charts, as job vacancies have gone up, their unemployment has gone down, in a nice smooth curve. Makes a lot of sense.

But when it comes to those unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, the unemployment rate hasn't been going down that much, even though vacancies are on the rise. Hence the hook-shape.

To test why the situation was so screwy for the long-term unemployed, Rand Ghayad, a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University, sent out 4,800 fictional resumes. All the made-up applicants could boast identical credentials, but had been unemployed for different lengths of time, and worked in various industries. He found that employers almost never got in touch with applicants who had been out of work for over six months.

That's bad news for the 4.7 million Americans -- or 38 percent of the unemployed -- who fall into that category. As Ghayad puts it: "It isn't that firms aren't finding the right workers, but that employers are screening out the long-term unemployed."

Heartbreak Of Long-Term Unemployment

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What\'s Up Doc? If people aren\'t being hired they will stay on unemployment until it runs out.

March 07 2013 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It\'s obvious older people\'s factory trades have been outsourced an so now they are too old to do heavy labor.

March 07 2013 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A big part of the reason is that employers don't want to hire anyone over the age of 50, which makes up a huge percentage of the long term unemployed. Age discrimination is alive and well. That, and the fact that there are just only so many jobs available and too many applicants for each. Many employers are now staffing with armies of part timers that they don't have to pay benefits to. You can't pay rent, food, and utilities on a part time salary, which means some people are working two and three part time jobs and still do not have benefits such as health insurance.

March 07 2013 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The BIGGEST REASON is the number of illegals in the U.S. who are being hired ............

February 14 2013 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JimB's comment

I could not give you the thumbs up because of errors with the server but I agree with you.

March 07 2013 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


February 14 2013 at 10:57 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply


February 14 2013 at 10:07 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to krattjd's comment

I guess you didn't hear about all the jobs bills the republicans passed that are still sitting on Harry Reid's desk....

February 14 2013 at 11:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Lousy leadership is why!!!!

February 14 2013 at 10:05 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Real Reason for Long Term Unemployment? How can this be, the private sector is doing just fine in all 57 states.

February 14 2013 at 9:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ectullis's comment

Ha Ha... True!

February 14 2013 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The population, thanks to the immigration law change that happened in 1965, grows by about 3 million per year.
If all need to be employed, it means we need to grow 250,000 jobs each month just to stay even.
That's why the unemployment number is so high.

February 14 2013 at 9:17 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fielectric's comment


February 14 2013 at 9:38 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

employers want you to live on 1980s wages, obomo thinks this is fine well let him and his family live on those wages,morgate,taxes,electric,gas and everythig has go up but wages have been going no where.

February 14 2013 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to islemike1's comment

If empolyers weren't being strangled by excessive regulations and costs, the jobs would be so plentiful they would have to COMPETE for employees. Better profits, better jobs, better benefits. It's called the free-market system and Obama is out to destroy it. Look forward 10 years and try to imagine where we all will be if we allow this mindset to continue...

February 14 2013 at 9:24 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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