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Economic News, Data and Analysis

Unemployment Spell

Here’s a useful reminder that there is more to unemployment than the headline unemployment rate.

Joblessness low, but lasts longer |
Normally, the higher unemployment goes, the more time the average worker spends unemployed. That’s what happened during the late 1960s and 1970s. By November 1982, when unemployment hit a postwar high of 10.8 percent, the average jobless stint reached 20 weeks, eight weeks longer than during the recession of the early ’70s.
In the 1990s, that relationship began to break down. In a joint study last year, economists Katharine Abraham and Robert Shimer found that unemployment fell to levels of the 1960s, yet the jobless stint remained 50 percent longer. The biggest change: a huge jump in workers unemployed six months or more.

Filed under: Data, Economics, Economy, Microeconomics, Recession



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