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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why Is There Record Long-Term Unemployment?

Why aren’t many people who have been unemployed for more than six months able to get jobs?

Analysts say the long-term unemployment numbers now haven’t been this high since the Great Depression. Is it because they’ve become dependent on unemployment as some on the political right would say? Or is it because their skills are outdated they need training as many on the left would say?

According to new research, it’s neither.

Heidi Shierholz, economist at the non-profit, non-partisan Economic Policy Institute told Here & Now’s Robin Young that the underlying cause of long term unemployment is much larger. “It’s not a worker skills problem, it’s not that people are taking vacation on their UI [un-employment insurance] benefits. It’s because there is very weak demand for workers,” she said.

(Courtesy Economic Policy Institute)


  • Heidi Shierholz, economist at the non-partisan, non-profit Economic Policy Institute

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