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Many Unemployed Americans Have Simply Given up Looking for Work

Although the unemployment rate in the United States has dropped from the 10 percent level recorded in October 2009 to its lowest level since May 2008 of 5.4 percent, many of America’s unemployed have simply stopped looking for jobs. A new survey that came out on Wednesday shows that 8.5 million Americans without jobs, or about 40 percent, have quit searching for one. Labor force participation in the U.S. continues to linger at nearly 37-year lows. While those numbers are discouraging for the labor market, these figures of unemployed Americans giving up their search are down slightly from last year’s recorded 47 percent.

Observer even suggests that it seems that those who have stopped looking for work are those who have been unemployed the longest. Of those surveyed, individuals who have been without work for two years or more were 55 percent more likely to have stopped searching, whereas those unemployed for 7 to 12 months are at 34 percent. These numbers equate to one in five of unemployed Americans having vacated their search.

Unemployment benefits play a big role in the decision to cease a job search, as well as a rigid job market and the gap between skills and education the jobless hold vs what employers are looking for. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed, or practically 9 out of 10 questioned, said if their benefits had run out by now, they would be more inclined to extend their job search to a wider field of options. Many of the jobless said that unemployment benefits have allowed them to take their time in searching and also have allowed them to hold out for a better position.

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