Long-Term Unemployed Still Recovering from Recession

Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at long last, contained some good news. The labor force participation rate, long a laggard of the economic recovery, finally cracked 63 percent.

The labor force participation rate, the share of people either working or seeking employment, was 66 percent before the recession, and bottomed out at 62 percent last year. As the labor market gets tighter, wage growth has started to pick up as well. While the unemployment rate did tick up by a tenth of a percentage point, that is likely good news if it means more people have started actively looking for jobs, rather than staying out of the labor force entirely.

However, on one metric the employment situation remains stubborn: long-term unemployment. The share of unemployed persons stuck without a job for 27 weeks or longer is 28 percent, as opposed to 19 percent pre-recession. That is down somewhat from 37 percent when the economy was at peak unemployment, but still worryingly high.

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