Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks

by Bill McBride on 7/30/2009 04:45:00 PM

The DOL report this morning showed seasonally adjusted insured unemployment at 6.2 million, down from a peak of about 6.9 million. This raises the question (and frequent emails) of how many unemployed workers have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits (Note: most are still receiving extended benefits).

The monthly BLS report provides data on workers unemployed for 27 or more weeks, and those workers have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits (and maybe even the extended benefits). So here is a graph ...

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The blue line is the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more. The red line is the same data as a percent of the civilian workforce.

According to the BLS, there are almost 4.4 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks (and still want a job). This is 2.8% of the civilian workforce.

Notice the peak happens after a recession ends, and the of long term unemployed peaked about 18 months after the end of the last two recessions (because of the jobless recovery). This suggests that even if the current recession officially ended this month, the number of long term unemployed would probably continue to rise through the end of 2010.

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