By all accounts, our economy is slowly recovering. The unemployment rate is plummeting faster than expected, the dollar is surging compared to other countries’ currencies and the Federal Reserve is… less patient than it was before.
With all of that said, it’s still pretty common knowledge that this economic rebound has been especially uneven, with middle class and poorer Americans struggling to see meaningful increases in take-home pay. One of the best indicators of this discrepancy is real household income, which is at its lowest point in many millennials’ lifetime.
While the recovery still hasn’t necessarily impacted middle-earning American families, good news on the employment front broke last week as the Federal Reserve lowered the long-term unemployment rate.
As discussed during our last blog on the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs data, the unemployment rate alone isn’t a great indicator of the overall health of the labor market. Last month, as the Bureau announced a 5.5 percent unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate also fell to a 30 year low. That means that more Americans than ever are actually being left out of the labor force, even though significantly fewer were being counted as “unemployed.”
One of the trends to emerge from the latest recession is that long-term unemployment, which refers to people that have been unable to find a job for 27 weeks or longer, has made up a larger share of unemployment than during any previous recession.
With all of that said, it’s often pretty difficult to understand what every nuance of economic data means. Here are some facts that you may have never known about long-term unemployment:
The record for long-term unemployment was set in the second quarter of 2010
One in ten unemployed people in 2014 were jobless for 99 weeks or longer
Older people are more likely to be long-term unemployed
Long term unemployment is equal across educational categories
Nearly 50 percent of unemployed people in Washington D.C. were unemployed for 27 weeks or more
North Dakota had the lowest percentage (13.1).