Unemployment Still at Record Highs
Written by Lynn Goya
Christine L. Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP) testified in writing that the economy needs 12.2 million jobs to get back to “full” employment.
“As the jobs crisis persists,” she says in the report, “millions of unemployed workers are facing the bleakest employment prospects in a generation. NELP estimates that throughout 2010, 3.9 million unemployed workers exhausted all of their unemployment benefits without finding new work. And while some of those have presumably found employment by now, the Congressional Research Service estimated that in October 2010, there were roughly 1.5 million very long-term unemployed workers—that is, jobless workers who had been unemployed for 99 weeks or longer.
This year may be the most dismal of all for many unemployed, including a growing number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Owens states that in January 2.8 million people who had been looking for work had dropped out of the jobs market, the highest number on record, and therefore were not reflected in reduced unemployment numbers. Further, for every job offered, there are officially five unemployed people who could use it. Further, “the longer someone is out of work, the harder it is for them to get back in,” says NPR’s Tamara Keith. “Their skills atrophy; employers aren’t interested in talking to people who have a huge gap in their resume.” And when they do find jobs, it’s often at much lower pay than what they made before, she added.
Veterans are unemployed at a higher rate than non-veterans, especially those who joined since 9/11. Returning vets, in 2010, saw an unemployment rate of 11.5 percent compared to the overall rate of 9.7 percent. Job growth has been improving in 2011, dropping to a two-year low of 8.8 percent by adding 216,000 jobs in March, marking the 13th straight month of private-sector job growth. Veteran unemployment peaked in January at 15.2 percent. March saw the unemployment number for all vets finally drop to 9 percent with Iraq and Afghanistan still at an unacceptable 10.9 percent. Of those vets who served and separated from the service since 2001, men are unemployed at a rate of 11.6 percent and women at a rate of 7.5 percent.
Tomorrow: Unemployment, Under-employment Still Holding Back the Economy
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