CBO: Country Experiencing Longest Stretch of High Unemployment Since Great Depression

The rate of unemployment in the United States has exceeded 8% since February 2009, making the past three years the longest stretch of high joblessness in the country since the Great Depression, according to a new report issued by the Congressional Budget Office.

And the stigma associated with long-term unemployment is actually contributing to the problem, The Huffington Post notes in its article about the CBO report. "As workers sit idle for months and years, their skills deteriorate and the very fact of their joblessness makes them even less employable," The Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney writes.

"The CBO estimates that stigma and skill-erosion combined have boosted the unemployment rate by a quarter of a percentage point since the start of the recession in December 2007 — and that the jobless rate will be half a percentage point higher for the next several years." This occurs, in large part, because of "an employer's inference that people who have been unemployed for a long time are low-quality workers," the CBO report concludes.

The CBO projects that the unemployment rate will remain above 8% until 2014. The share of unemployed people who have been looking for work for more than six months — referred to as the long-term unemployed — topped 40% in December 2009 and has remained above that level ever since.

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