Obamacare Disaster Takes Away From Obama’s Economic Failures
Long-term unemployment remains at record levels under Barack Obama.
4 million Americans are suffering from long-term unemployment.
For Ms. Barrington-Ward, joblessness itself has become a trap, an impediment to finding a job. Economists see it the same way, concerned that joblessness lasting more than six months is a major factor preventing people from getting rehired, with potentially grave consequences for tens of millions of Americans.
The long-term jobless, after all, tend to be in poorer health, and to have higher rates of suicide and strained family relations. Even the children of the long-term unemployed see lower earnings down the road.
The consequences are grave for the country, too: lost production, increased social spending, decreased tax revenue and slower growth. Policy makers and academics are now asking whether an improving economy might absorb those workers in time to prevent long-term economic damage.
“I don’t think we know the answer,” said Jesse Rothstein, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “But right now, I think everybody’s worst fears are coming true, as far as we can tell.”
Soon after we first talked in October, Ms. Barrington-Ward left her sister’s house in Ohio, where she had crashed for six weeks, and went back to Boston and filed her bankruptcy paperwork. She contacted a headhunter. “I’ve got to get a job,” she said. “I just have to.” She had two job interviews lined up and her fingers crossed.
Long-term joblessness — the kind that Ms. Barrington-Ward and about four million others are experiencing — is now one of the defining realities of the American work force.
The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.3 percent, down from 10 percent four years ago. Private businesses have added about 7.6 million positions over the same period. But while recent numbers show that there are about as many people unemployed for short periods as in 2007 — before the crisis hit — they also show that long-term joblessness is up 213 percent.
Looks like a good time to pass amnesty, huh?