Long-Term Unemployed Blight on US Recovery

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In the latest sign of economic turn-around, hiring in the United States is slowly making a comeback.

Since last October, the unemployment rate has been steadily declining.  Currently, it stands at a 4-year low of 8.3 percent -- that's 12.8 million unemployed workers.  The report for March, due to be released Friday, may show yet another drop.

But what many are concerned about is the 5.4 million who remain unemployed long-term.

"They're starting to lose motivation, they're starting to become demoralized, beyond frustrated," Beth Power, regional director of Manpower Atlanta, said. "Clearly, they're losing their homes. They're losing their families; they're losing everything they have."

Herman works closely with employers to identify candidates for both temporary and full-time jobs.

While she says companies have begun hiring again, she's concerned about the long-term unemployed. Officially, that's anyone who's been jobless for more than 27 weeks. 

"It's something we're talking a lot about with the Department of Labor," Herman said.

"We've got an issue in the U.S. of perennially long-term unemployment, which is going to go from bad to worse if we don't do something to shore up that gap and get them back in the workforce," she continued. "Because two years will quickly become four years will quickly become six years and then what?"

One piece of good news for job seekers is that several million unfilled jobs exist right now.  Herman says the hardest areas to employ are in the skilled trades, information technology, engineering, accounting and finance.
  
She also says that the way you spend your time while unemployed can make all the difference.

"When I meet a candidate that says 'I lost my job, but I've been networking, doing contract work, I've been volunteering, I'm on that computer night and day-- that's very different," she said. "That's a motivated candidate."

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Heather Sells

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