Using the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, this brief outlines the demographic and economic characteristics of the long-term unemployed and compares them with their short-term unemployed counterparts. It also describes changes in the composition of the long-term unemployed since the start of the Great Recession. Author Andrew Schaefer reports that the percentage of unemployed workers who were seeking employment for more than six months more than doubled between 2007 and 2013 from 18.4 percent to 39.3 percent and that the long-term unemployed are more likely than the short-term unemployed to live in urban areas. In addition, the urban long-term unemployed are more likely to be older, but less likely to be poor than their rural counterparts. He concludes that, as debate about the extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits continues, it is important to gain an understanding of the long-term unemployed in terms of their demographic and economic characteristics and how those characteristics differ across place in order to help better target strategies for alleviating the negative effects of long-term unemployment.

Publication Date



National Issue Brief No. 68


Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2014. The Carsey Institute. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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