Long-term unemployment affects nearly 30 percent of jobless Americans | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Long-term unemployment affects nearly 30 percent of jobless Americans

Posted: May 6, 2012 - 8:42pm

“Nearly 30 percent of jobless Americans have been out of work for at least a year, according to the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative report on the first quarter,” The Los Angeles Times reported. That’s an astounding figure. Any claims of a recovery being boasted by the government should be viewed with skepticism. Unless more jobs are created, the troubled economic horizon will remain cloudy.

The Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative report found that of the 13.3 million unemployed workers in the country, 3.9 million had been jobless for all or most of 2011. That’s nearly the population of Minnesota.

“That 29.5 percent long-term unemployment rate is slightly off the peak reached in the third quarter of last year, when 31.8 percent of jobless Americans were out of work for a year,” the Times reported. “But the current rate is still more than triple the 9.5 percent from the beginning of the recession.”

“The longer workers remain unemployed, the more likely they may lose skills and professional contacts, making workforce reentry even more challenging,” researchers wrote in the Pew report. “Skill erosion may lead to lower future income for individuals and, for the economy as a whole, lower productivity, lost output.”

It’s not surprising that while college graduates are finding it difficult to find a job in their field of training, older workers were more affected than most. Nearly 44 percent of former employees older than 55 have been out of work for longer than a year. Unemployed workers between 20 and 24 find themselves in the same pickle.

While the nation’s jobless rate remains high, Crow and Cass counties are among the highest unemployment rates in Minnesota, seasonal jobs will take the edge off the jobless rate in both counties.

During the coming election, not only will this be a challenge for the presidential candidates, it will be on the front burner of state elections as well.

—Keith Hansen