In a 9/25/09 WSJ article, Conor Dougherty examines the growing numbers of the long term unemployed, those who have been out of work for 6 months or more. They total 5 million, a third of the 15 million unemployed, and these long term unemployed constitute the highest percentage of unemployed since the Labor Dept started keeping track after WW2.
Conor relates several stories, each story an aspect of the larger problem of the long term unemployed: “Skills atrophy. Demoralization sets in and can become permanent. Some potential employers shy away.” A person’s chances of becoming employed decline with each month that they are unemployed. Wages are lower for those that do find jobs. The article is well worth reading.