Justin Wolfers correctly tweets this morning that: “As unemployment falls, so will long-term joblessness.”
But, it could still take a very long time.
The labor-market categories that Janelle Jones and I have been focusing on in two recent reports – the long-term unemployed, discouraged workers, the marginally attached, and those part-time for economic reasons – have so far not responded much to job growth and the decline in the overall unemployment rate.
I was struck by these lines from the Bureau of Labor Statistics summary of today’s jobs report:
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 5.4 million in February. These individuals accounted for 42.6 percent of the unemployed.
In February, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier.
Among the marginally attached, there were 1.0 million discouraged workers in February, about the same as a year earlier.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.1 million in February.
You can read Dean Baker's take on the jobs numbers here.