Pop quiz: What’s the biggest menace to the economy right now? Is it: (1) the budget deficit, (2) inflation, or (3) long-term unemployment? The presidential campaigns will tell you it’s the deficit. The Federal Reserve might tell you it’s inflation. But with our debt cheap and inflation low, it’s clear that the right-now crisis is that people out of work can’t find their way back in.
Long-term unemployment hasn’t been this high since the Great Depression. It’s an economic scourge because the longer you’re out of work, the harder it is to get work. Employers lose confidence in the jobless and the jobless lose skills the longer they go without a job. Stay unemployed too long and you become unemployable.
Read more. [Image: St. Louis FRED]