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The Exchange

Understanding Long-Term Unemployment

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Upon first glance, the numbers look good, the U.S. jobless rate now sits at 6.6%, a full 1.6% better than last year. But dig deeper into those numbers and you find a different story: currently 4 million Americans have been out of work for more than half a year, and in New Hampshire that makes up nearly 32% of the jobless. But now, the stress of long-term unemployment is being felt even more as the extensions usually given after 6  months were dropped in December leaving 1,300 in New Hampshire and nearly 2 million nationwide without benefits. Some say that this could be devastating for families, but others say that with an improved economy the loss of benefits could be the kick that they need to get back into the work force.


  • Alex Brillresearch fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Formerly, he was an adviser on tax policy to the President's Fiscal Commission, and was a senior adviser and chief economist to the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • William Dickensprofessor and interim chair of the Department of Economics at Northeastern University, specializing in labor markets, wage determination, and
    unemployment. He is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute Economic Studies program.


  • Alex Brill wrote an article for Real Clear Markets arguing against extended unemployment benefits

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