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Long term unemployment drops; still high

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(Read caption) This chart shows, in thousands, the annual number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more since 2000. Long-term unemployment has declined over the past two years, but still remains at historically high levels.

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Today's employment situation report showed that conditions for the long term unemployed improved slightly in December while remaining epically distressed by historic standards.

Workers unemployed 27 weeks or more declined to 5.588 million or 42.5% of all unemployed workers while the median number of weeks unemployed declined to 21.0 weeks and the average stay on unemployment declined to 40.8 weeks.

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Looking at the charts below (click for super interactive versions) you can see that today’s sorry situation far exceeds even the conditions seen during the double-dip recessionary period of the early 1980s, long considered by economists to be the worst period of unemployment since the Great Depression.