Planet Money
1:24 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Who Are The Long-Term Unemployed? (In 3 Graphs)

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 9:54 am

When you are out of work and looking for 27 weeks or longer, you become part of a group the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls long-term unemployed. The share of long-term unemployed workers hit its peak in May 2010, when 46 percent of the unemployed were long-term unemployed. It has hovered around 40 percent of the unemployed in the three years since.

In tonight's State of the Union address, the president is expected to talk about helping the long-term unemployed. He is expected to press big American companies to pledge not to discriminate against them when they're hiring. Dow Chemical, Bank of America and Xerox have reportedly already signed the president's pledge.

That got us wondering, who are the long-term unemployed?

One thing to note — this is a rough measure. It doesn't distinguish between meaningful employment and seasonal employment. That means workers who happen to pick up a shift or two somewhere or find a job for a season won't appear in these numbers.

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