The Buggy Whip Conundrum


Dave Wilson of Bloomberg notes that the improvement in Unemployment is bypassing those who have been unemployed the longest.

This is what I call the “Buggy Whip Conundrum” — those folks who have been looking for work the longest are most likely to have been in sectors that have imploded. The jobs are no longer there.

In other words, it is not that many of these people have lost their jobs — they have lost their industries as well .

In some cases, these jobs might return eventually. That would be things like Construction, Financial, Real Estate. In other areas — fabric/clothes, autos, etc. — those jobs are not coming back.

Hence, they need more than a job — they need a new set of skills and a new career . . .

Here’s Wilson:

Americans out of work more than six months have barely benefited from the longest decline in the country’s unemployment rate since 1994.

The CHART OF THE DAY compares the percentage of the U.S.
labor force in this situation with the comparable figure for those unemployed fewer than six months, according to data compiled by the Labor Department.

While the jobless rate dropped for the fourth consecutive month in March, the number of people going more than six months without work rose to 6.12 million. That’s more than four times the average since 1970, the period covered in the chart.

Those who exceeded the six-month threshold account for only
13 percent of the drop in unemployment since December, when the rate started shrinking. Their number fell by 206,000 as people out of work for shorter periods tumbled by 1.36 million.

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