Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The long-term unemployed and high school dropouts

This 60 Minutes episode focused on the "carnage" caused by long-term unemployment. It highlights one program, Platform to Employment, that has successfully helped the long-term unemployed reenter the workforce. This program starts by revamping its unemployed clients' confidence, and then finding internships for these mid-career professionals. It also helps them navigate discrimination against the long-term unemployed.


Bernanke's 9-30-2011 speech at the Cleveland Fed is mentioned in the 60 minutes clip. In that speech, Bernanke notes that 45% of the unemployed have been unemployed for 6 months or longer, which is unprecedented in the post-WW II era. The long-term unemployed risk losing their skills, connections, and attachment to the workforce -  to the detriment of the whole economy  (click here to see 53 second excerpt from Bernanke speech).

The long-term unemployed are not the only group suffering especially hard; people with less education face much higher unemployment rates, as well as lower earnings. The following graph can be found at http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm.

For more on the challenges facing those without a high school degree see, WSJ (2-21-2012) "As Job Market Mends, Dropouts Fall Behind" by CLARE ANSBERRY.  You can find the numbers reported in this WSJ article in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) archives of Employment Situation News Releases, http://www.bls.gov/schedule/archives/empsit_nr.htm.

It should come as no surprise that high school dropouts are also more likely to stay unemployed a long time. According to a 2010 article in the Monthly Labor Review (http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2010/10/art1full.pdf),  in 2009 persons without a high school diploma accounted for only 11% of the labor force, but they accounted for 28.6% of the unemployed and 19% of the long-term unemployed (unemployed at least 27 weeks).

1 comment:

  1. I have an undergraduate degree in Computer SCience

    My last full time Permanent job was in August
    of 2003 and that was a bookstore job

    My last full time job(but was just a 5
    month temp job) was in Jan of 2007

    My last part time temp job was in December
    of 2009 and that lasted not even 2 months

    Other than that I've had this very very sporadic
    on and off contract position that I was last
    paid in something like 2008.

    Out of desperation I've decided to go back to
    my local community college to pursue something
    called Health Informatics but to tell you the
    truth I have no idea if this will help me get
    a job since it is a new field. I could be in a
    worse position with still no job but instead
    of still no job, I have debt to deal with.

    and so I'm hardly a high school dropout and I
    really think the future is really really bleak
    for me