The Human Disaster of Unemployment
cepr.net — The American economy is experiencing a crisis in long-term unemployment that has enormous human and economic costs. In 2007, before the Great Recession, people who were looking for work for more than six months — the definition of long-term unemployment — accounted for just 0.8 percent of the labor force. The recession has radically changed this picture. In 2010, the long-term unemployed accounted for 4.2 percent of the work force. That figure would be 50 percent higher if we added the people who gave up looking for work. Long-term unemployment is experienced disproportionately by the young, the old, the less educated, and African-American and Latino workers. The result is nothing short of a national emergency. Millions of workers have been disconnected from the work force, and possibly even from society. If they are not reconnected, the costs to them and to society will be grim.