Nearly half of unemployed Americans have quit looking for work, and the numbers are even worse for the long-term jobless, according to a poll released Wednesday that paints a grim picture of the labor market.
Some 59 percent of those who have been out of work for two years or more say they have stopped looking, the Harris Poll of unemployed Americans showed. Overall, 43 percent of the jobless said they have given up, according to the poll released in conjunction with Express Employment Professionals, a job placement service.
"This is a tale of two economies," Express CEO Bob Funk said in a statement. "It's frightening to see this many people who could work say they have given up."
The results come just a few days after a government report showed that the unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent in May, but the drop came primarily because of a sharp decline in the labor force participation rate. The number of people of all ages whom the government considers "not in the labor force" swelled by 664,000 to a record 94.7 million Americans, according to Labor Department data.
Job creation, after averaging more than 200,000 for much of the recovery, has slowed considerably this year. May saw just 38,000 new jobs, part of a trend in which payrolls have grown an average of 116,000 over the past three months and less than 150,000 for all of 2016.
The greatest concentration of unemployment is in the 18-29 age group, which comprises one-third of all the jobless: