The Atlantic's Matthew O'Brien with a terrifying look at the reality faced every day by the long-term unemployed:
As long as you've been out of work for less than six months, you can get called back even if you don't have experience. But after you've been out of work for six months, it doesn't matter what experience you have. Quite literally. There's only a 2.12 percentage point difference in callback rates for the long-term unemployed with or without industry experience. That's compared to a 7.13 and 8.95 percentage point difference for the short-and-medium-term unemployed. This is what screening out the long-term unemployed looks like. In other words, the first thing employers look at is how long you've been out of work, and that's the only thing they look at if it's been six months or longer.
This penalty for long-term unemployment is unlike any other. As you can see in the chart below, job churn is another red flag for employers, but not nearly to the same extent. Applicants who'd gone through five to six jobs but had relevant experience were still more likely to get called back than those who'd gone through three to four jobs but didn't. And they had about as good a chance as those who'd only held one or two jobs but weren't experienced. In other words, there is no job-switching cliff like there is an unemployment cliff.
This, not entitlements, not immigration reform, not gun control, should be at the top of the agenda for the President and Congressional Republicans. Almost all of our country's problems are more easily solved with a strong, vibrant economy. Fixing, or at least alleviating some of the burden caused by, long term unemployment is a major part of accelerating economic growth. And if we don't deal with this problem, all the others will become far, far worse.