That represents 23 percent of the roughly 14.8 million Americans out of work and looking for a job — a post-World War II high. For those 3.4 million Americans, the consequences from such a long time out of work — a cost of the Great Recession — can be calamitous.
“[T]he likelihood of finding a job declines as the length of unemployment increases,” notes the team led by Ingrid Schroeder, director of the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative, a program of the Pew Economic Policy Group and the Pew Charitable Trusts. “People who are unemployed for a long time can lose their job skills. A long unemployment spell can mark them as undesirable, making it more difficult to compete against other job candidates. [Federal] data suggests that workers who are jobless for the longest duration incur the largest reductions in weekly earnings upon returning to work.”