Friday, May 18, 2012

Long-term Unemployment: Challenges and Solutions in National News

Reuters and CNN Money recently published a couple of articles on long-term unemployment, a subject we've discussed before on this blog. In April 2012, 37 percent of unemployed* Oregonians had been without work for more than 27 weeks, compared with 41 percent of the U.S. unemployed population.

In addition to youth, older workers are among those facing long-term unemployment. According to a Reuters article, the number of long-term unemployed workers ages 55 and over has more than doubled since 2007. The story also references a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report detailing the significant impacts of unemployment on the   retirement income of jobless seniors. 

Which leads us to a CNN Money piece describing a potential solution to the challenge of getting the unemployed back to work: ask companies, the general public, and other organizations to subsidize jobs. A Connecticut-based non-profit agency, The WorkPlace, is doing just that through a program called Platform to Employment. The group has already raised about $580,000, with an additional $200,000 donated by AARP to assist older (50+) workers. Read the full article for more details on the Platform to Employment program.

*The official statistical definition of "unemployed" covers individuals in the labor force that had no job, were available for work, and made specific efforts to find work within the last four weeks. A person does not have to be drawing unemployment insurance benefits to be counted as unemployed for statistical purposes. Read more on that here.

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