It's been over four years since the recovery officially began, but there are still over four million people who are long-term unemployed. That's four million people who can't find work even after looking for six months or more -- four million people who can't even get companies to look at their resumes anymore.
But just who are the long-term unemployed? Well, that's the question Josh Mitchell of the Urban Institute looked at, and the answer is at once reassuring and terrifying. It turns out the long-term unemployed aren't much different from the other unemployed -- with two exceptions. They're just as educated (if not more so). And they're pretty much the same racially. But they're older. And they're unemployed, because they lost their last job -- and no, that's not as tautological as it sounds.
Let's go to the charts. Now, as you can see from the 2012 numbers below, the long-term unemployed are actually more educated than either the newly unemployed, who have been looking for work for 5 weeks or fewer, or discouraged workers, who have given up looking but still want work. Of course, some of the newly unemployed will eventually end as long-term unemployed themselves -- but not all, or most, of them. We would still expect some difference here if too little education is why companies shun the long-term unemployed. And there isn't one.