Long-Term Jobless Woes

From the weekend WSJ:

job chartIt’s especially distressing to see that the number of long-term jobless—those out of work for 27 weeks or more—jumped again to 6.55 million, and as a share of the total jobless hit a new record of 44.1%, up from 40.9% in February and 24.6% a year earlier. (See the nearby chart.) This means that nearly one of every two Americans who has lost his job is waiting at least a half year to get a new one. The damage in lost skills and human capital is enormous and can do life-long damage.

Congress keeps extending jobless benefits, and last week President Obama proposed a new subsidy for the jobless in the form of mortgage payment reductions if you’re out of work. Democrats think this is good politics because they can accuse Republicans of being uncaring if they vote no.

But the irony is that these extensions only increase the incentive to delay going back to work, especially if most available jobs are temporary or pay less than their old ones. Democrats are ensuring that the jobless rate stays higher for longer (it’s still a nasty 9.7%), which isn’t compassionate and can’t be good politics going into November.

See whole article here.