Where the Jobs Aren't Coming Back

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The depth of this recession is prompting some scrutiny in the media, and soul-searching among policy wonks, on the plight of the long-term unemployed. Last week, the Wall Street Journal profiled several workers among the 5 million nationwide who have been out of work for at least half a year. Brookings' own Ron Haskins wondered aloud whether the post-welfare reform social contract--government support in exchange for work--can hold up in an era of long-run unemployment.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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