Between 2009 and 2010, I was unemployed for 11 months. With combination of a small package provided by my former employer, unemployment insurance, draining savings and retirement, and scrabbling some freelance work together, my household kept going, and I was lucky to find a good-paying job about a month before we estimated we would go over the financial edge.
Like I said, I was lucky. A new paper from three Princeton economists – Alan B. Krueger, Judd Cramer, and David Cho – reports that long-term unemployment never really goes away. Even after finding another job, reemployment does not fully reset the clock for the long-term unemployed, who are frequently jobless again soon after they gain reemployment: only 11 percent of those who were long-term unemployed in a given month returned to steady, full-time employment a year later.
The paper was presented at the Brookings Institution, and one of the things it points out is that monetary policy (that’s the Fed) is limited in what it can accomplish in terms of driving down unemployment and helping those who have been out of work for an extended period. What is needed is action by legislators, our elected officials, and since Congress and many state legislatures are dominated by Republicans, who don’t give a rat’s ass about unemployment, that’s not likely to happen.
Couple this with the personally devastating effects of unemployment (there are those who say one often does not fully recover, ever), and you have a genuine crisis, one too many politicians are content to allow to fester.