Carsey Institute: 39 Percent of Unemployed Americans Are Seeking Work for Six-Plus Months

Carsey Institute: 39 Percent of Unemployed Americans Are Seeking Work for Six-Plus Months

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thirty-nine percent of unemployed Americans are experiencing long-term unemployment in the wake of the 2008 recession, which is more than double the percent unemployed more than six months but actively seeking work in 2007, according to new research about trends in long-term unemployment since the recession from the Carsey Institute at UNH. 

“As the debate about the extension of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program continues, it is important to gain an understanding of the long-term unemployed in terms of their demographic and economic characteristics and how those characteristics differ across place. Doing so can help better target strategies for alleviating the negative effects of long-term unemployment,” said Andrew Schaefer, doctoral candidate in sociology at UNH and a research assistant at the Carsey Institute. 

The research is presented in the Carsey Institute brief “The Long-Term Unemployed in the Wake of the Great Recession.” 

According to Schaefer, the percentage of unemployed workers who were seeking employment for more than six months more than doubled between 2007 and 2013, from 18.4 percent to 39.3 percent. 

In addition, the percentage of women among the long-term unemployed has increased in the last six years, from 35 in 2007 to 44 percent in 2013. In contrast, the percentage of men among the long-term unemployed decreased from 65 percent in 2007 to 56 percent in 2013. 

Schaefer also found that the long-term unemployed are more likely than the short-term unemployed to live in urban areas; 87 percent of the long-term unemployed live in urban areas compared to 83 percent of the short-term unemployed. The urban long-term unemployed are more likely to be older, more racially and ethnically diverse, higher educated, and more likely to be married with children, but less likely to be poor than their rural counterparts. 

This research is based on data from the 2007-2013 Annual Social and Economic Suppplement of the Current Population Survey. The research brief is available at http://carseyinstitute.unh.edu/publication/1007

The Carsey Institute conducts policy research on vulnerable children, youth, and families and on sustainable community development. The institute gives policy makers and practitioners the timely, independent resources they need to effect change in their communities. For more information about the Carsey Institute, go to www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu.