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JEC Releases New Report on Long-term Unemployment

New Report Details Growing Employment Gap and Long-Term Unemployment In the Aftermath of the Great Recession

Aug 04 2011

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released a new report that highlights the long-term unemployment crisis left behind by the Great Recession and the need for continuing investment in workforce training. The report entitled, “Addressing Long-Term Unemployment after the Great Recession: The Crucial Role of Workforce Training,” shows that the long-term unemployment that characterized the Great Recession has shown few signs of abating and remains at near-record levels. Smart, targeted investments in workforce training programs can help workers build skills that will prepare them for new jobs.

“This report shows that workers continue to face near-record levels of long-term unemployment, more than two years after the Great Recession officially ended,” said Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the JEC. “The longer an individual is unemployed, the harder it is to find a job – that’s why it’s so critical we act quickly to help Americans get back to work."

While no group of workers has been spared by the high-rates of long-term unemployment, older workers, those with only a high-school degree, construction workers, and African-American workers have faced disproportionately high rates of long-term unemployment. Even college-educated workers, who experience much lower rates of unemployment than their less educated peers, have encountered long spells of unemployment.

“The key will be to create a business climate that will foster job creation and that will quickly cut into these high rates of long-term unemployment,” said Chairman Casey. “Persistent long-term unemployment has troubling long-term consequences for workers and for the economy, including lost wages, declining labor force participation, less consumption and a smaller tax base.”

With almost five unemployed workers for every job opening, the economy is not yet creating enough jobs to make a significant reduction in unemployment. Yet employers report that they are having difficulty finding skilled workers for key positions, despite the high ratio of unemployed workers to job openings. Helping workers build new skills and search more effectively for positions that are a good match for their skillset can help to address the mismatch.

Casey continued,“Now that the compromise to cut spending and avoid default has been signed into law, we need to get back to work on improving the economy and creating private sector jobs. This report makes clear that policymakers will need to simultaneously spur job creation while also investing in education and training programs that can prepare workers for new employment opportunities."



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