What are the forces moving the Minnesota economy? Adam Belz tries to identify the trends and show the connections between Minnesota and the larger U.S. and global economies. You can connect with him on Twitter: @adambelz

CHART: Trends in long-term unemployment

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends, Economics Updated: January 7, 2014 - 10:57 AM

The U.S. Senate is moving toward extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed this week, after a 60-37 vote to move on to full debate of the legislation, despite Republican opposition.

Long-term unemployment (being jobless for more than six months) is still a huge problem, but it's been quickly becoming less of a problem in the past three years. This chart is built using data available from the BLS here

At just over 4 million Americans unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, the problem of long-term unemployment has been easing, but it's still a bigger issue than it's been at any time in history. The most severe spell of long-term unemployment was after the recession in 1982, but that now looks like a blip compared to the Great Recession.

The problem looks even worse when you see what share of the unemployed are considered long-term unemployed:

More than a third of the officially unemployed have been so for six months or longer.

One note on the data: I used the November figure for each year, since that's the most recent figure available.

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