FT.com - Concern rises at US long-term jobless

From an article in today's Financial Times (registration required)

"Concern is rising that the long periods some US workers have been out of a job is eroding their skills, confidence and consumption in ways that do serious harm to their prospects and to the broader recovery. So far, the pick-up in the labor market has not been mirrored by strong growth in incomes and consumption.

"'One concern we do have, of course, is the fact that more than 40 per cent of the unemployed have been unemployed for six months or more,' Ben Bernanke, US Federal Reserve chairman, told Congress last week. 'Those folks are either leaving the labor force or having their skills eroded, and although we haven't seen much sign of it yet, if that situation persists for much longer then that will reduce the human capital that is part of our growth process going forward.'"

Here's the latest chart:

(source: FRED)

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