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.