November 17, 2010
Approximately 1 in 25 persons who were in the labor force in October 2010 had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.
Workers who were long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more) accounted for 4.4 percent of the labor force in May and June 2010, a high for this series; the previous high was 2.6 percent, in 1983.
The recession that began in December 2007 led to the highest unemployment rates in almost three decades, along with record-breaking rates of long-term unemployment. Almost 3 years after the onset of the recession, the unemployment rate remains high, at 9.6 percent, with the long-term unemployed accounting for 41.8 percent of the unemployed.
These data are from the Current Population Survey. To learn more, see "The composition of the unemployed and long-term unemployed in tough labor markets" (PDF) in the October issue of Monthly Labor Review. The labor force includes all persons classified as employed or unemployed.