The labor market ended 2016 on a positive note. The unemployment rate is low at 4.7%. Employers are increasing wages to snag fewer available workers.
That all sounds good, at least until you ask the 25% of unemployed Americans who have been out of work six months or more.
The tightening job market that the Labor Department portrayed last week has delivered only limited benefits to one group: the long-term unemployed. The number of people jobless six months or more may have fallen by 25,000 to 1.8 million in December and is down from 6.8 million in 2010. Yet they still represent a quarter of all those unemployed, about the same as a year ago and up from 18% before the recession began in late 2007.
Daniel Brown, who led a $200 million business unit that made material for packaging and labels and has an MBA from the University of Chicago, thought he would land a similar six-figure job within a few months of losing the position in September 2015 due to a restructuring.