Straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report today:
In August, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.0 percent of the unemployed.
In today's jobs report, you can see that more than half of all unemployed people have been that way for at least 15 weeks. And of that group, most have been out of work for 27 weeks or more -- six months and counting. It's scary to consider those numbers, both in terms of human experience and the hit to the economy. Long-term unemployment makes you more likely to end up working, finally, for less, with pay cuts of 20 percent not uncommon, and that's when you're lucky enough to find a job.
As the Atlantic noted the other day, long-term unemployment creates a situation where the economy cannot grow because so much of the labor force has become unemployable. There's even a scary word for the way the present is hauled down by the past: hysteresis.
(The other scariest number: Labor force participation lowest since 1981, lowest for men since before 1948.)