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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Weeks Unemployed, More Tough Days

“The unemployment rate is still going to be high for a while, and that means that a lot of people are going to be under financial stress.”

That's the forecast from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as stated at a dinner in Washington, D.C., last night.

But how high? How much longer? And how much stress?

Those are some of the questions we're constantly seeking to answer and inform the public on with our Gallup Daily tracking of both underemployment and wellbeing.

According to our data, which are not seasonally adjusted, 19.1% of the U.S. workforce was underemployed in May, including 9.4% unemployed. We also found in surveys conducted in April and May that 25% of the unemployed have been actively looking for employment for a year and more. We also learned that after six months of unemployment, hope for finding a new job within four weeks is cut in half.

How does such a tough situation affect one's state of mind and wellbeing?

In a story Tuesday, we'll report the extent to which worry, sadness, and stress increase with the length of unemployment (Update: read the story), and the extent to which happiness and enjoyment decrease. These data go beyond the faceless unemployment rate to document and better understand the emotional toll of longer-term unemployment. In another story we're working on, we'll also document the physical toll of longer-term unemployment.

To get these stories as soon as they are published, sign up for our underemployment and wellbeing e-mail alerts.


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