Down and Out: Measuring Long-term Hardship in the Labor Market
AbstractThe official concept of “long-term unemployment,” while useful, is incomplete and, in some cases, even potentially misleading. As tracked by government statistics, the long-term unemployed are only a relatively small part of the population facing extended, sometimes permanent, spells without work. This report proposes rethinking our understanding of long-term unemployment in two ways. First, we encourage shifting from a narrow focus on long-term unemployment toward a broader concept of “long-term hardship” in the labor market. Many workers or potential workers who do not fit the official definition of long-term unemployment – including “discouraged” and “marginally attached” workers and those involuntarily working part-time jobs – face long-term hardship in the labor market, but are not captured in the standard measure of long-term unemployment. Second, we suggest complementing the standard measure of long-term unemployment, which reports the share of the unemployed who have been out of work for 6 months or more, with an alternative measure, which reports the share of the total labor force that has been unemployed for 6 months or more. This alternative measure avoids some counter-intuitive properties of the standard statistic and is better for making comparisons across demographic groups.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in its series CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs with number 2012-01.
Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
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unemployment; long-term unemployment; discouraged workers; marginally attached workers; part time for economic reasons;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J - Labor and Demographic Economics
- J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
- J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
- J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
- J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-01-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-HME-2012-01-18 (Heterodox Microeconomics)
- NEP-LAB-2012-01-18 (Labour Economics)
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