The long term unemployed in the U.S are having an easier time finding jobs, while the chronic problem of long-term joblessness may disappear in the months ahead, according to a study released Monday from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
The jobless rate in the U.S. is currently at 7.9 percent, with some 12.3 million people out of work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of that, some 4.7 million are considered long term unemployed — meaning they have been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
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Using BLS numbers, the report stated that in December 2012, the share of workers who were jobless six months or longer dipped below 40 percent for the first time since late 2009. The portion of unemployed Americans out of work for 99 weeks or longer fell to 11.2 percent in January — the lowest level in two years.
"This is a trend for the long term," said Rob Valleta, research adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and author of the report.
"The number of long-term unemployed finding jobs has risen over the years and assuming job growth continues, this trend will keep going," Valleta said. "They are still struggling for sure but the long-term picture is getting better for them."
"One of the reasons the long-term unemployed numbers are going down is that more short-term unemployed are finding work," said Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's. "That just means there's fewer people having to face long term unemployment because they're finding jobs faster."
Zandi pointed to several key job markets that have picked up in the last two years and are putting more people on payrolls.
"Manufacturing, transportation, retail, as well as hotel and leisure have all seen upticks in job growth and more people are taking those jobs," Zandi said.