First Person: Long-Term Unemployment Is Still on the Rise

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The unemployment rate may be improving, just not for everyone.

A recent article by CNNMoney shows that the number of people unemployed in the long-term increased from 5.1 million to 5.4 million last month. In total, the number of long-term unemployed people makes up 48 percent of the unemployment rate.

So the number of people who remain unemployed for several months - or even years - is almost half of all unemployed people in the U.S. And as if that wasn't bad enough news, many of those people will be losing their unemployment benefits in the coming months as the federal government has plans to cut extended unemployment benefits in some states.

Many economic experts are calling it a crisis, but others are saying that the skills employers need simply do not match the skills of the unemployed workers.

Personally, I was unemployed for almost a year before I was able to find work and I can say that unmatched skills were not the problem in my case. In fact, I went on one interview where I was told that while my skills matched, they were looking for someone who had been employed more recently.

I would say there are two very big problems keeping the long-term unemployed. For one, there are not many jobs available right now. While the statistics seem to improve (at least remain the same,) I was out there. I know that you can look for days without finding anything. For example, while I submitted dozens of resumes, I was only able to send one or two a week some weeks. And I wasn't being picky. I submitted my resume to any job I thought I could do, regardless of pay, location or hours.

Then there are situations like the one I experienced. Some employers think you're not capable of doing the job if you've been unemployed for a while. This is especially true in industries where technology changes rapidly, but it seems to be the case across the board. I even had an interviewer ask me if I thought I could improve my work ethic. She thought being unemployed for over six months meant I was unwilling to work, not just unable to find anywhere to work at.

So I don't agree with some experts. While some long-term unemployed persons may not be fitting the jobs they are applying too, the rest just haven't found suitable employment, or employment that would take them with their work history.

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