Long-term unemployment has long-term consequences, especially for older workers


The Impact of Long-term Unemployment: Lost Income, Lost Friends — and Loss of Self-respect, issued by the Pew Research Center this week, captures the impact of the Great Recession on all workers, but particularly on older workers.

A few key facts from the full report:

From December 2007 to May 2010, the number of workers without a job for more than six months rose from 1.3 million to 6.7 million, a
fivefold increase.

For most groups, the share of long-term unemployed is similar to the national share.
However, more than half (51.8%) of unemployed black workers have been seeking work for more than six months. The same is true for older workers—58.3% of workers 50 and older have been jobless for more than six months. That is the highest share across the various groups. Research from the BLS shows that older workers became less likely to drop out of the labor force during the Great Recession.6 That raised both their unemployment and long-term unemployment rates.

Only one group—workers 50 and older—truly stands out as being overly represented among the long-term unemployed. Workers 50 and older are 22.5% of all unemployed but 28.4% of long-term unemployed.

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