Beating long-term unemployment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics determines the unemployment rate by dividing the number in the civilian labor force by the number of unemployed. In order to be counted as unemployed, a person must be working part-time or temporary, be available for work and actively looking for work in the past four weeks.


I recently read an article titled The Sting of Long-Term Unemployment, in Bloomberg Businessweek, which I found informative yet alarming about long-term unemployment and its many ramifications.

The writer, Peter Coy, explores in detail how economists are mystified about “chronic, long-term unemployment” despite the reports of increasing job growth throughout the economy.

Coy describes differences between the rates of short-term unemployment and long-term unemployment as they relate to the labor force. He cites 2001-2007 data that “long-term unemployed make up 38 percent of all workers without jobs.”

On Nov. 5, 2010, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney wrote a blog, The Great Recession’s Toll on Long-Term Unemployment (, which also mentions the consequences of long-term unemployment.

Some of the consequences that come with being unemployed for more than six months include not appearing as attractive to employers, failing to maintain one’s job skills, the depleting of one’s job networks and becoming discouraged.

Are you someone who has been unemployed for more than six months and has encountered some of the effects of long-term unemployment? As a career coach and counselor, I want to offer you specific suggestions to help you reignite your job search.

• Seek out the assistance of a professional to help you deal with the emotional impact and stress that comes with long-term unemployment.

• Enroll in continuing-education courses at your local community college to brush up on your professional development. Take a computer class or business course online.

• Consider entrepreneurship. Find out what it takes to open your own business. Contact your local Small Business Administration.

• Reconnect with others. Volunteer with a local nonprofit organization.

• Conduct informational interviews as a way of finding about different jobs, careers, or fields that you are interested in.

• Expand your network through LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media.

• Customize your résumé to the job you are interested and keep it updated.

• Develop your interview skills through practice. Have someone to help you through mock interviews.

• Understand that 80 percent of jobs are not advertised. Take the risk and seek out employers that you with whom you might be interested in working.

Debbie Walker is a licensed professional counselor and certified job and career transition coach. She can be reached at (706) 550-5008.