For the Long-Term Unemployed, the Jobs Just Aren’t There

Mark Price |

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released new data on the duration of unemployment by state.  In 2010, 26% of the people in Pennsylvania who lost a job through no fault of their own had been unemployed for a year or more.

The following figure plots the data by state against the average unemployment rate by state in 2010.  As I argued last week using older data, these new data clearly demonstrate that the most important factor shaping the length of time that people in Pennsylvania remain unemployed is the number of unemployed people competing for job openings. (See the latest numbers on job openings per unemployed workers.) Claims that the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance system compared to other states leads people to remain unemployed for long periods of time are just not true.

Hat tip to Kathryn Edwards of the Economic Policy Institute for finding and sharing the new data.