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Long-Term Unemployed Falling Into “Idleness Trap”


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Long-Term Unemployed Falling Into "Idleness Trap"
New Study Shows Few May Find Work 

(Washington, D.C.) – Despite an economic "recovery" that has lasted nearly 5 years, the problem of long-term unemployed American workers is growing ever greater. For decades after World War II, the percentage of people out of work who were jobless for at least six months was 26 percent – reached in 1983. In this respect, the U.S. economy was much different from that of Europe – where the long-term unemployed were often more than 50 percent of all jobless. In 2009 however, the percentage of long-term unemployed in the U.S. broke 40 percent, and remained above that level for nearly three years. 

Today about 36 percent of unemployed workers have been without a job for at least six months. Many are older workers with skill sets that match poorly with positions that are currently open. Research by a group of Princeton economists finds that in recent years, only about a third of the long-term unemployed found work within 15 months – and many of those had to settle for part-time positions. This suggests that today's long-term unemployed may find it impossible to rebuild their earnings and career paths.

Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement: 

"It's inevitable that in a dynamic economy, there will be periods of strong growth and other times when jobs are hard to come by. For millions of hardworking Americans though, the current slowdown is different. Young people and experienced workers, those with limited skills or advanced degrees – all kinds of workers feel like they're falling through the cracks. And instead of a real agenda of economic growth and skills training, all they get from Washington are political debates. 

That must change. Out of control spending, growing regulation, health care and other mandates – all of this government overreach is hurting small businesses and family businesses, and making it harder for employers to hire. The President must lead on a plan to rein in the federal deficits and repeal wasteful and counter-productive regulations. Working in a bipartisan way, Congress and the President can offer unemployed workers hope. It's time to start."

For interviews with a LIBRE representative, please contact: Brian Faughnan, 703-678-4581 or Steven Cruz, 202-578-6173.