FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Revised Wednesday, December 11, 2002

CONTACT: Henry Griggs or Michelle Bazie
202-408-1080

NOVEMBER LABOR MARKET DATA CONFIRM THE NEED TO EXTEND
AND STRENGTHEN THE TEMPORARY FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT PROGRAM
Unemployment Rate and Long-Term Unemployment Both Increase

PDF of this report

Related analysis:
ArrowA Response to Arguments Against Extending the Temporary Federal Unemployment Benefits Program

Additional Analyses

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Newly released Labor Department data show that the labor market is not on the road to recovery, according to two new analyses by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The unemployment rate increased from 5.7 percent in October to 6.0 percent in November as the number of unemployed Americans rose by 300,000, to 8.5 million. Long-term unemployment and the unemployment rates for some specific groups also increased substantially.

"The House of Representatives made an irresponsible decision to go home without extending the federal unemployment insurance program for 13 weeks, as approved by the Senate," said Wendell Primus, director of the Center's income security division. "The Administration and the House leadership can partially redeem themselves by announcing immediately that extending and strengthening that program will be the first order of business when the new Congress convenes in early January."

The analysis of the Labor Department data released today finds:

Signs of a persistently weak labor market include the following data:

Substantial long-term unemployment persists. The new data show that:

  • Some 1.73 million individuals who have been unemployed 27 weeks or more, the highest number of long-term unemployed since September 1993.
  • About one in five individuals (20.6 percent) who are unemployed have been unemployed for six months or more. This is the highest such percentage since the current economic slump began in March 2001.

Particularly troubling data were reported for men:

Analysis of Exhaustion Data

A separate Center analysis of Labor Department data on the number of individuals who are exhausting their weeks of unemployment insurance without finding a job confirms the continued significance of the problem of the long-term unemployed. The findings of that report include:

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For additional information on the need for extending Unemployment Insurance benefits, see A Response to Arguments Against Extending the Temporary Federal Unemployment Benefits Program, available at <http://www.cbpp.org/12-6-02ui2.htm>.