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Only 1-in-10 Finds Work, Middle-Aged Workers Hit Hardest

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

At the White House on June 8, 2012 Barack Obama uttered six words that will forever haunt and define him; "the private sector is doing fine."   His absurd statement came on the heels of a horrific May jobs report,  an increase in the unemployment rate to 8.2%, retail sales declined for the second straight month, consumer confidence dropped for the third consecutive month, the number of job openings available dropped by 8%, etc., etc., etc. 

Fine?  How bad would it have to be for him to admit things were at least a little tough for the folks who live outside the DC Beltway?

The evidence that Obama is out of touch is overwhelming, and in the middle of a re-election campaign that is almost totally about the economy, it is hard for him to make a convincing argument that "I feel your pain" if he doesn't even believe any pain exists.

Here's some more economic evidence to ponder.  There are 12.7 million Americans currently unemployed, and another 10 million are under employed or have left the workforce in frustration.  Of the unemployed still looking for work, 5.4 million, or 42.8%, have been out of work for six months or longer; the definition of long-term unemployed.   "While the share of long-term unemployment is down a bit from its peak last year, it's still at record-high levels," reported CNN Money.  The average length of time it takes to get a job is also at record levels hovering "around 40 weeks for the past year." 

The data also reveals more of the agony of Obama's non-recovering recovery.  "In the first few weeks after losing their jobs, about 3 in 10 people are able to find work.  But after about a year of being out of work, the chances of landing a job fall to just 1 in 10 per month," according to the CNN Money report.

Further, middle-aged workers, typically in the "prime years for earning and building wealth," are experiencing "a rate of long-term unemployment that is unprecedented in modern U.S. history," according to newly published analysis by the Wall Street Journal:

"Much of the attention during the prolonged U.S. employment crisis has been on high rates of joblessness among young people. Less noticed, but no less significant to many economists, has been the plight of the middle-aged. More than 3.5 million Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 were unemployed as of May, 39% of them for a year or more—a rate of long-term unemployment that is unprecedented in modern U.S. history, and far higher than among younger workers…"

"As of May, the unemployment rate for people ages 45 to 64 was 6%, some 10 points lower than for people under 25. But the lower rate disguises the fact that when middle-aged people lose their jobs, it's much harder for them to find a new one. Those between 45 and 64 take almost a year on average to find a job, more than two months longer than workers between 25 and 44." Read more here.

The WSJ also tells the unusually grim struggle for middle-aged workers with the following graphic that provides comparative data to previous recessions since the end of World War II. link here

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