4.4M Have Been Jobless for More Than a Year Lengthy jobless periods lead to vicious cycle of unemployment By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Jul 22, 2011 2:03 PM CDT 35 comments Comments Job seekers line up for a career fair in Oak Brook, Ill. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File) (Newser) – Some 30% of unemployed workers across the US—about 4.4 million people—had been jobless for more than a year as of last month, Labor Department data shows. Long unemployment periods were especially pronounced in New Jersey (37.1%), Georgia (36.8%), Michigan (36.0%), South Carolina (35.7%), North Carolina (33.8%), Illinois (33.8%), and Florida (33.6%), the Wall Street Journal reports. “It really is going to take a concentrated effort of employers to give people a chance who haven't worked in a while,” says a Labor Department official. “I don't want us to say this is the new normal and move on.” But those who are jobless for a long stretch often have a harder time getting back to work, the Journal notes, adding that older, highly educated Americans tend to experience the longest periods of joblessness. That could be part of the reason why New Jersey and Florida are struggling: Their populations are older than the national average.