Strategically Virtual: Long-term Unemployed Older Workers Persist in a Boom Economy

March 2, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally altered the way most people work, and in more recent months has caused many people to drop out of the labor market entirely, ushering in lower official unemployment numbers and the “Great Resignation.” This phenomenon has increased the attention on attracting new workers and decreased the attention being paid to those who are still long-term unemployed. Researchers at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development explored a number of job search success factors with the long-term unemployed population in New Jersey who are members of the New Start Career Network, a program that assists New Jerseyans age 45 and older who have been unemployed for at least six months. 

Surveys of long-term unemployed individuals revealed a disparity between individuals’ self-reported measures of job search engagement and job search intensity. Researchers suspect there could be many reasons behind this disconnect. Internal and external factors such as burnout, physical and mental health concerns, and caregiving responsibilities are all potential factors leaving some long-term unemployed individuals without the supports they need to fully engage in a productive job search. 

In a new research brief, Strategically Virtual: Long-term Unemployed Older Workers Persist in a Boom Economy, Savannah Barnett and Liana Volpe note concerns and offer a few strategies to assist this population, which is falling through the cracks of the new boom economy.

Read the brief.


The Strategically Virtual series by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development outlines how the public workforce system can use technology and community partnerships to expand services, address job seeker mental and emotional well-being, and ensure that a broader range of the public is able to access support. The Strategically Virtual series is producing issue briefs, Medium blog posts, practical guides, and more. View all of the Strategically Virtual blog posts.

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