Lose A Job, Prepare For A Really Long Job Search

Here’s the good news: Employers are hiring more workers than they are firing these days, a welcome turnaround from the darkest days of the Great Recession.

Here’s the bad news: If you are among those unlucky enough to lose your job now, you'd better prepare for a long job search.

The median duration of unemployment was 21 weeks or about five months as of December. That means half of all unemployed workers had been without a job for more than five months.

That’s actually an improvement from mid-2010, when the median duration of unemployment peaked at 25 weeks. But it’s still nearly three times what it was before the recession began and much higher than in previous tough job markets.

The main problem: There just aren’t enough jobs to go around.

Last year the economy added an average of about 137,000 jobs a month. While that’s better than when the economy was shedding jobs, it wasn’t nearly enough to absorb the millions of unemployed and new workers entering the market, said Sylvia Allegretto, an economist with the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.

“That rate of job growth is simply not fast enough to really soak up all those who are unemployed and underemployed, and those who have left the labor market and will be coming back to the labor market,” Allegretto said.

Allegretto doesn’t expect the situation to improve much soon for the long-term unemployed.

That’s partly because there are still 13 million people who are unemployed and seeking work. It’s also because there are many other Americans out there who may have stopped looking for a job because the market was so bad, and will start looking again if the market improves.

Those excruciatingly long job searches are an especially big problem for older workers. The median duration of unemployment for 20- to 24-year-olds was 16.3 weeks in December, compared with 31.4 weeks for 55- to 64-year-olds.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by obamaSAYSThereIsTimeTo MakeMoney,ButNowIsNotThatTime Location: PinnochobamaNotLand on Jan 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
    To Tea Party blah blah blah@7:35:obamas first year tells big business there is time for a profit but now is not that time!If they dont make a profit they have to down size and or layoff and or cut pay.How can companies hire after a so called president makes a statement like that?(GOOGLE IT)!bralow/lavon,you guy/gals are past pathetic.
  • by Tea Party Nation asks businesses to stop hiring on Jan 21, 2012 at 04:35 PM
    Talk about being a hypocrite the Teaparty complains about the unemployment numbers while at the same time, urging business not to hire anyone. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/18/1027737/-Tea-Party-Nation-asks-businesses-to-stop-hiring-as-expression-of-tea-party%C2%A0solidarity
  • by Herman Cain Oct.7 2011 on Jan 21, 2012 at 04:28 PM
    “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself…It is not a person’s fault if they succeeded, it is a person’s fault if they failed.”
  • by 40some on Jan 21, 2012 at 01:05 PM
    Not me. It's past time to fire somebodies dead axe and toss them to the curb. Keep the position open till spring.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jan 21, 2012 at 09:16 AM
    So this is what was really meant by hope and change? Well, we believe now!
  • by to Disgruntled(ex)worker on Jan 21, 2012 at 09:14 AM
    8 out of 10 of you lost your jobs, and 3 years later still no employment for any of you? Either you and your fellow ex employed friends are not looking or you are a lying Tro// like old snake oil is.
  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Jan 21, 2012 at 08:53 AM
    According to people on this board, all y'all without jobs are lazy and just want to sit around on unemployment. Why if we just took away that unemployment, y'all would get off your butts and have a job in a jiffy! The world is a simple place for those with simple minds.
  • by Seriously on Jan 21, 2012 at 08:35 AM
    My husbands been laid off since 2009. He did work briefly but it didn't last. So I totally agree. Obama media is scary bc they have no morals and lie to you face. Most politicians do but Obama is the worst I've ever seen. He's so arrogant and narcissistic. Its pathetic just like him. What a loser can't wait to vote against him this year!!!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 21, 2012 at 08:29 AM
    What, I have heard numerous times by the liberal media that the economy has improved. Maybe it is time for the Democrats to swallow some of their pride and finally take a look at the 20 jobs bills that the Republicans have passed and submitted to Congress for approval, only for them to sit on Harry Reids desk collecting dust.
  • by 2012 on Jan 21, 2012 at 07:07 AM
    Vote for Obama in 2012, prepare for a really long unemployment line!
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