[Excerpt] Even in a strong labor market, many people become unemployed for short periods as they enter the labor force or change jobs. But some people take many months to find a job. Over the past several decades, the percentage of unemployment spells lasting more than six months has increased. Such long-term unemployment may result in serious problems for the unemployed individuals themselves as well as for the overall economy.
This Congressional Budget Office (CBO) paper—prepared at the request of the Chairmen of the House Budget and House Ways and Means Committees—uses data from a national survey to examine the extent to which unemployment is concentrated among workers who experienced spells lasting more than six months. It also examines the characteristics of those workers, their sources of income, and their subsequent activities. In keeping with CBO’s mandate to provide objective, impartial analysis, this paper makes no recommendations.