The long-term unemployed are people who have been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer. After expanding for 3 consecutive years, the number of long-term unemployed reached a record high of 6.7 million—or 45.1 percent of the unemployed—in the second quarter of 2010. Since then, the number has gradually declined to 2.8 million (or 31.6 percent of the unemployed) as of the fourth quarter of 2014.
The share of the unemployed who were out of work for 52 weeks or longer reached a record high of 31.9 percent in the second quarter of 2011. The share unemployed for 99 weeks or longer reached a record peak at 15.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. All of these measures of long-term unemployment have trended down since their respective peaks but remain high by historical standards.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Spotlight on Statistics: Trends in long-term unemployment