News summary, from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (12/13)
The national unemployment rate decreased significantly from 7.3% to 7.0% with 10.9 million unemployed. The number of persons experiencing long spells of unemployment (over a year) increased slightly by 9,000 people to 2.8 million. 4.1 million individuals had been unemployed for 6 months or more in November, a slight increase of 3,000 over the month, and a huge decrease of 718,000 over the past 12 months. That means about 35% of those who became unemployed 6 months ago are still unemployed today. They are, however, competing with 400,000 fewer job seekers than they were in July when the unemployment rate was 7.6% and 11.8 million were unemployed.
The average number of weeks that job seekers are staying unemployed has increased over the month to 37.2, which is still about a week and half shorter than last year, while the median increased to 17 weeks. Such a difference may reflect that for most industries and geographies, job seekers may be able to transition within five to six months. However, about 23% of job seekers may not be able to effectively execute a transition campaign or may be in adversely impacted geographies or shrinking markets, creating challenges to transitioning that lead to extremely long spells of unemployment.