While there were enough positive things contained in today’s employment report that allow us to remain hopeful about the recovery’s lasting power, some troubling aspects remain. Specifically, the length of time in which workers have been unemployed is a serious concern. During March, unemployment spells were reported to last an average of 31 weeks (20 weeks for the median) and more than 44 percent of those unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer, which is a new record high as well as a 20 percentage point increase from March 2009. These long-term unemployment spells are not only a problem for the workers themselves, but also for the economy as a whole, particularly in areas such as the housing market, consumer spending and even government finances.

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