The economy is showing modest signs of improvement, but probably not enough to help the people who've taken the biggest hit: the long-term unemployed.
The number of people who've been out of work for over a year has skyrocketed since the financial crisis and ensuing recession to the point where Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has called it a "national crisis" -- employers are reluctant to hire people who haven't been on the job in months, and after such long stretches peoples' skills deteriorate and they become genuinely less marketable.
How bad is it? Extremely bad -- and even worse if you're old.
The following charts come from the Pew Charitable Trusts just-released addendum on long-term unemployment.
Not only is long-term unemployment much higher now than at any time since the government's started keeping data on the issue, but if you're old, you're really out of luck. Old workers are less likely overall to be unemployed than young workers. But if you're old and you lose your job, you're much more likely to end up in this unfortunate category -- just when your health is failing and cost of insurance is peaking.
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