Unemployment Scars for a Generation of Workers?

According to the American Economic Association and Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Casselman (WSJ 1/09/12), the December jobs thaw is likely to leave many job seekers out in the cold. Their caution underscores a need to help many of the long term unemployed make a transition to new careers.

As Casselman notes, “The U.S. job market is showing signs of a sustained recovery. But the country’s prolonged struggle with unemployment will leave scars that are likely to remain for years, if not generations.

The latest labor-market snapshot, out Friday, gave cause for continued, if tepid, optimism. U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.5%, its lowest level since early 2009.

But economists gathered here for the American Economic Association’s annual convention took a longer and generally dimmer view. Even if recent progress continues, the recession already has had a lasting effect on a generation of workers. Worse, the crisis has laid bare problems in the U.S. labor market that won’t quickly recover when the economy eventually rebounds. And the longer that unemployment remains high, the greater the risk that it will create structural problems that will endure.”

We at ABLE are not sitting still. We are joining with other career counselors– in government and the private sector–to develop best practices to help experienced workers succeed in the new economy. More on that later.

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