Unemployment datapoint of the day

By Felix Salmon
October 22, 2009
hitting new record highs for a while; it's now managed to pass the 6-month mark. That's much higher than any previous peak in this data series. And I fear that the only way it's likely to come down any time soon is as these people become so demoralized that they take themselves out of the labor force altogether.


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The length of time the average unemployed person has been without a job has been hitting new record highs for a while; it’s now managed to pass the 6-month mark. That’s much higher than any previous peak in this data series. And I fear that the only way it’s likely to come down any time soon is as these people become so demoralized that they take themselves out of the labor force altogether.

The overwhelming majority of the working population will never be able to prepare themselves for a period of unemployment lasting more than six months. As financial-market types worry about possible inflation in a few years’ time, tens of millions of Americans are finding themselves in a very real personal financial crisis to which there is no visible solution. Given the Fed’s dual mandate, it makes sense to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future. Inflation is possible; unemployment is catastrophically real.

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