More than 3 million U.S. workers remain among the long-term unemployed – those who have been jobless for 27 or more weeks. Their numbers have been falling as the economy picks up, but experts say getting back to work has been tougher in the wake of the most recent recession than it was following the economic downturns of the 1980s.
“It takes people much longer to get back to work today than it did six or seven years ago,” said Steve Partridge, head of Charlotte Works, the job training agency to which Bussey turned for help. “We’re a much more change-oriented society, and the skills and needs of companies change much more quickly.”
Some fields – especially technology- and science-related jobs – are expanding, while others, such as low-tech manufacturing and textiles, are contracting.
“It’s sort of a tale of two labor markets,” said UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton. “There’s a general labor market for people who aren’t in phased-out labor sectors and aren’t older that seems to be working out just fine.”
The other, as Bussey is finding, can be painful to navigate. He feels as young and eager to work as ever, but has begun to suspect some employers prefer younger applicants.
“I know they’re saying the unemployment rate is down,” he said, “but to me, it really hasn’t been as encouraging as they’re saying.”
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at One worker’s story: A layoff, a lesser job, a long wait for training | CharlotteObserver.com.