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Expand National Service to Re-engage Unemployed

Harry Stein argues that re-engaging long-term unemployed workers in this country is not charity—it is an economic necessity.

More than six years after the Great Recession technically ended, there are still about two million Americans who are out of work and have been trying to find a job for at least 27 weeks. With businesses reluctant to hire someone with a large gap in their resume, long-term unemployment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for many workers. The human costs can be severe: workers with long spells of unemployment are much more prone to depression, and even their children tend to have lower levels of emotional wellbeing.

While the long-term unemployment rate is slowly declining from the peaks it reached after the Great Recession, some of this decline is because workers are giving up on ever finding a job, and no longer being counted as unemployed. Instead, they have become living proof of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s warning in 1961: “When human values are subordinated to blind economic forces, human beings can become human scrap.”

The above excerpt was originally published in Morning Consult. Click here to view the full article.

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Harry Stein

Director, Fiscal Policy