Time Spent Out of a Job Hits A New High

This statistic from today’s dismal jobs report jumped out at us. The Labor Department says the average unemployed person in the United States is spending 39.7 weeks out of a job.

GM workers can breath a sigh of relief as the U.S. automaker plans to expand its work force. Photo courtesy of Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio.

According to the Economix blog in New York Times, that’s the longest since the department began keeping the statistic in 1948.

To be sure, the department changed the way it calculates the statistic in January, but even under its old method, May was still the longest time ever.

The Times says this raises concerns for a couple of reasons:

“The longer a person is unemployed, the less employable he or she becomes because of factors like stigma and skill deterioration. That means that the longer it takes to get Americans back to work, the further behind they’ll fall.”


“The social safety net for these workers is also fraying. Many of the long-term unemployed — who now constitute about 45 percent of all unemployed workers — have already had their jobless benefits run out.”

In another factor that’s of great interest to our region, the Times said, many unemployed people who have retrained for new careers have so far racked up student loan debts but not jobs.

President Obama, who was in Toledo today, recently discussed his concerns about unemployment with Stephen Clark of WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

If you’re not working, how long have you been looking? And if you recently landed something, how long did it take you?

One Reply to “Time Spent Out of a Job Hits A New High”

  1. It’s clear the under/unemployment figures have been erroneous. In Detroit here, mid-age and experienced folks have been looking anywhere from 1-3 years. Years. Even with getting interviews and having done current work. It’s like bottom of the iceberg isn’t seen at all – think Titanic. 

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