The Impact of Long-Term Unemployment and How to Get Help

Man looking for work at home on laptop

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Even though the unemployment rate is dropping and the economy is creating jobs, there are still millions of people out of work in the U.S. For many of those who are unemployed, the length of time out of work is only increasing. 

As the duration of unemployment increases, the challenges of finding work increase and, as a result, it can become harder to get hired.

What Is Long-Term Unemployment?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks unemployment by duration. The long-term unemployed are a category of unemployed workers who have been out of work for 27 continuous weeks or more.

The Challenges of Long-Term Unemployment

One of the many challenges for the long-term unemployed is that when you are out of work, it can be harder to get hired. For many job seekers, it takes much more effort to find a job when unemployed than when working.

In a 2017 study, the New York Fed’s Liberty Street Economics found that job searching was less effective for unemployed job seekers than it was for employees seeking a job change. In fact, unemployed workers spent 8.4 hours per week searching and applied for 8.1 jobs per month, while those employed spent 1.2 hours per week searching and applied for 1.2 jobs per month. 

The study also reported that employed workers actively looking for work receive the greatest number of employer contacts and job offers, despite spending less time job hunting.

Assistance for Unemployed Workers

The longer you’re unemployed, the more challenging and disheartening it can be. But there are resources available to help. 

Extended Unemployment Benefits

If you have exhausted regular unemployment benefits, there areextended benefits in place. In most states, you should automatically qualify for the next tier of benefits. However, eligibility depends on your work history and state and federal guidelines for qualifying.

Federal legislation provides for extra weeks of benefits. In addition, federal government Extended Benefits (EB) are available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment.

Information on current benefits is available on your state unemployment website. If you have difficulty contacting them, your state legislators may be able to help you get an expedited response.

Resources to Get Help

There are resources available to help unemployed workers regain employment. Tap into those that fit your circumstances, so you can get back on track as quickly as possible.

  • CareerOneStop: The best place to find help fast is CareerOneStop’s Economic Recovery portal. There are resources on unemployment, career changing, finding job postings, housing, finances, food, health care, and mental health.
  • American Job Centers: American Job Centers (AJCs) provide free help, including online and phone assistance, to job seekers for a variety of career and employment-related needs. 
  • State and Local Resources: There are state and local resources available for job search, career help, and training.
  • College Career Services: If you’re a college graduate, check with your career services office to learn about alumni resources. Many colleges provide resume and cover letter assistance, job search help, career networking, and job listings for alumni.
  • Resources for People of Color: Zippia has a list of career websites dedicated to people of color.
  • Resources for Older Workers: AARP has information on resources for older workers who have lost jobs due to the recession.
  • Training Programs & Apprenticeships: There are apprenticeship programs,certifications, and training programs, with funding available, that can help you make a transition to a new career if you’re in a down industry.

Here’s what to do, where you can get help, and how you can get financial assistance if you have run out of unemployment benefits.

Where to Find Job Postings

Here are some of the ways you can speed up your job search and find a job or a gig to supplement your income fast. 

Our step-by-step guide to getting back on your feet after losing your job will help you get started.

Job sites are highlighting jobs that are available now, and companies are fast-tracking the hiring process for many positions. Here are some of the way you can find available jobs:

  • Check outcompanies that are hiring now for immediate openings.
  • If you’re looking for remote work, optimize your online presence and focus your search on work-from-home companies that are hiring.
  • Consider gig work as a way to supplement your income while you’re hunting for a permanent position.
  • Review Indeed’s list of companies that are urgently hiring.
  • Check Glassdoor’s list of the top companies with hiring surges.
  • Enable the Open to Work feature on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Search the top job boards, using keywords for the type of job you're interested in and your location. Many companies have fast-tracked the hiring process for in-demand positions.
  • Search social media using hashtags such as #hiringnow and #hiring to find immediate openings.