Speed Reads

Economics

The long-term unemployed are still struggling to find work

FiveThirtyEight's Ben Casselman points to the fact that the job-finding rate is increasing for the short-term unemployed, but not the long-term:

How come? One factor is the poor health of the long-term unemployed. As I pointed out last week, obese Americans are more likely to be unemployed longer. Being out of work, particularly for the long-term unemployed, can itself make someone more likely to become obese. And unemployment can cause depression, another factor that makes obesity likelier. Another factor is that skills corrode as a result of long-term unemployment. This means employers are more hesitant to employ someone who has become long-term unemployed.

And this is the disaster of the post-2008 economy — with unemployment having risen so much during the recession, plus a slow recovery, lots of people have been thrown onto the scrap heap. And they're struggling to climb off.

What this means is that solving the problem of long-term unemployment is tricky, and requires addressing the additional matters of health problems, as well as loss of skills.