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Long-Term Unemployed Reveal Struggles

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Long-term unemployed workers struggle on many levels - emotional and financial. / Credit: Hire me image via Shutterstock

Losing their homes, struggling to feed their families and having to turn to their parents to supplement income are some of the serious consequences millions of long-term unemployed workers are facing in the U.S., new research shows.

A study by CareerBuilder revealed that those who have been out of work for at least a year are suffering the sting of the slower-than-expected job market recovery. The loss of a regular income has affected the long-term unemployed in various ways, from accelerated credit debt to downsizing to tense relationships.

Specifically, 25 percent of those surveyed don't have enough money for food, 25 percent have strained relationships with family and friends, 12 percent have maxed out their credit cards and 10 percent have lost their home or apartment due to the inability to pay the mortgage or rent. Additionally, 9 percent have moved back in with their parents and 4 percent have had to move to a less expensive location.

Many long-term unemployed are relying on a significant other, personal savings or family members to help with expenses, the study found. Close to 40 percent are borrowing money from a spouse or partner, 31 percent are using savings, 12 percent have taken side jobs, 11 percent are asking for money from their parents and 9 percent are appealing to other family members or friends for money.

Overall, 30 percent of workers who have been out of work for 12 months or longer said they haven't had a single job interview since they became unemployed. However, the lack of success in getting interviews isn't stopping the long-term unemployed from continuing their search.

Nearly 45 percent of those surveyed said they search for jobs every day, with another 43 percent looking every week. 

Being out of the work force for an extended period has left nearly half of long-term unemployed concerned that their skills have depreciated.  Among those who are worried about a decline in skills, 56 percent said their technology skills have depreciated the most.   

The study found that the major challenges the long-term unemployed encounter when looking for a job include their age, a feeling that the longer they are unemployed the less responsive employers are, a significant drop in the number of jobs in their profession, their inability to relocate or commute long distances, and a difficulty in transitioning skills to a new field or industry.

"There are many talented people in the U.S. who are having a tough time finding a job – not because of a lack of ability, but because of ongoing challenges in the economy," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.  "While our study explores the struggles they are facing, it also brings to light the resilience of these workers who remain optimistic, look for jobs every day and take measures to learn new skill sets to open the doors to new opportunities."

Despite the challenges, the long-term unemployed remain hopeful and are working hard to keep active and learn new skills. The research shows that 20 percent have expanded their professional network, 20 percent have volunteered, 18 percent have signed up with a staffing firm or recruiter, 14 percent have taken on part-time work, 12 percent have taken a class and 5 percent went back to school full time.

The study was based on surveys of 310 full-time employed workers who have been unemployed for 12 months or longer but are currently looking for work.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.