Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Experience of Long-Term Unemployment

More than one in five men (22 percent) have experienced long-term unemployment during their career, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics' analysis of panel survey data. Long-term unemployment is defined as 27 or more weeks without a job. This finding comes from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which has been tracking the experiences of people born from 1957 through 1964 for more than three decades. The cohort being tracked is the younger half of the baby-boom generation and now aged 48 to 56.

Long-term unemployment has affected some men more than others. Among non-Hispanic white men in the cohort, 19 percent had experienced a spell of long-term unemployment by 2010. The figure was more than twice as high among black men—41 percent had experienced long-term unemployment during their career. Only 10 percent of men with a bachelor's degree had been unemployment for more than half a year versus 25 percent of high school graduates and 40 percent of high school dropouts.

The average spell of long-term unemployment lasted 55 weeks and reduced men's earnings even years later. Four years after the first long-term unemployment spell, men's average hourly wages were 7 percent below what they had been four years before the unemployment began.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Long-Term Unemployment over Men's Careers

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