The drop in long-term unemployment, if it continues, would be a welcome development for the recovery from the coronavirus recession. Workers who experience long bouts of unemployment often have a tougher time getting hired because their skills may erode and they face bias from employers. As a result, economists have feared that long-term unemployment could be a legacy of the downturn, upending the lives of those affected and crimping economic growth.
Yet other economists, as well as staffing officials, have argued that longterm unemployment is different this time. About 22 million Americans lost their jobs in an unprecedented wave a year ago. As a result, companies likely would not view a long spell of joblessness as a blot on a career.
Carl Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, believes long-term unemployment still carries a stigma, even during the health crisis.