Contact Us

Americans Spending Less Time Unemployed [AUDIO]

The average length of time Americans spent unemployed in January dropped by nearly three weeks, but not for the reason you may think. It is likely because many people ran out of unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work.

Matt Cardy, Getty Images

“There may be a decline in the number of weeks people are staying unemployed, but it’s complicated,” said Joe Seneca, and economist at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. “It depends of responses to economic incentives. It depends on what’s happening with the overall unemployment rate. It’s likely because people have run out of unemployment benefits and are simply coming off of the unemployment rolls and are no longer eligible.”

“As the unemployment rate improves across the country, the amount of time you’re eligible goes down and in order to remain eligible, you have to be looking for work and actively seeking work,” said Seneca. “It’s a combination of people stopping their search for work because their extended unemployment benefits have been declined because the unemployment rate has improved. So, it’s an interconnected string of reasons behind that decline in the number of weeks people are spending unemployed.”

Unemployment benefits last up to 73 weeks, but their duration in each state depends on its jobless rate.

It’s a positive sign that unemployment rates are coming down across the country, but it’s also a double-edged sword.

“For those who lose their eligibility and remain unemployed, it’s a real hardship,” said Seneca. “It’s good that the economy is improving and unemployment rates are going lower, but for those who remain unemployed and lose eligibility, it’s incredibly tough.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Best of WOBM

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for WOBM Listener Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive WOBM Listener Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.