Capitalism’s not working. Which means that millions of people are not working. And they’re not working for a very long time.
That’s the conclusion of a new study by the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative, which includes calculations of the number and percentage of people who have been unemployed for a year or more. Among the report’s findings:
- The official unemployment rate in March was 9.7 percent (which means that about 15 million people were actively searching for employment but were unsuccessful) while the underemployment rate was 16.9 percent (much higher than the comparable rate after the 2001 recession, which was 10.4 percent).
- Over 44 percent of the currently unemployed have been out of work for a period of 6 months or longer. By comparison, during the severe recession of the early 1980s, the percentage of workers unemployed for six months or longer peaked at 26 percent in 1983.
- The high long-term unemployment rate represents the continuation of a decades-long trend, one that has worsened after downturns but has persisted even during periods of growth. inmarch 2004, at its most recent peak, the percentage of people who had been unemployed for at least six months was 23.4 percent. In November 2007, the last month of economic expansion before the current recession, 19.5 percent of the unemployed had been jobless for at least six months.
- in December 2009, nearly three and a half million Americans, or 23 percent of the unemployed, had been jobless for a year or longer.
- Minorities, men, younger workers and less-educated workers are over-represented on the unemployment rolls. In December 2009, the overall unemployment rate for whites was 8.8 percent, but 15.6 percent of African Americans and 12.9 percent of hispanics were unemployed. Unemployment among workers between the ages of 20 and 24 rose from 8.7 percent in December 2007 to 14.7 percent in December 2009. The unemployment rate for workers 25 or older without a high-school diploma rose from8.2 percent in December 2007 to 15.7 percent in December 2009.
- Once older workers become unemployed, they are more likely than younger workers to stay unemployed for a long period of time. Among unemployed people between the ages of 20 and 24, only 18 percent had been out of work for a year or longer in December 2009. The percentage steadily increases with age: more than 29 percent of unemployed people older than 55 had been out of work for a year or more—a higher rate than any younger age group.
And it’s likely this situation will persist for some time. . .
Capitalism will continue not to work. As a result, millions of people will continue not to be able to work. And, as things stand right now, they’ll be out of work for a very long time.