April 25, 2005
The number of persons unemployed for 15 or more weeks fell by about 400,000 between the fourth quarter of 2003 and the fourth quarter of 2004, to a level of 3.0 million.
About 60 percent of this decline was among persons unemployed 27 or more weeks—the long-term unemployed. The percentage of the jobless who were unemployed 27 weeks or more, 21 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, was down from the fourth quarter of 2003, but was still higher than the lows seen during the last recovery.
The average (mean) duration of unemployment was little changed in 2004, and the median number of weeks unemployed was down to 9.6 weeks from 10.4 weeks a year earlier.
Data on duration of unemployment are from the Current Population Survey. Find more information on duration of unemployment in "Household survey indicators show some improvement in 2004," by Teresa L. Morisi, Monthly Labor Review, March 2005.