The Long-Term Unemployed

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Matt Yglesias put up a chart today showing that unemployment is high among the less educated but pretty low among the well educated. Then this comment:

Virtually every single member of congress, every senator, every Capitol Hill staffer, every White House advisor, every Fed governor, and every major political reporter is a college graduate. What’s more, we have a large amount of social segregation in the United States — college graduates tend to socialize with each other. And among college graduates, there simply isn’t an economic crisis in the United States.

Here’s another chart that, if anything, makes this point even more strongly: it shows the rate of long-term unemployment by educational level. I had to cobble it together with an interpolation or two,1 but I think it’s pretty close to the mark, and what it shows is that for those with a high school diploma or less, the long-term unemployment rate is about 5-6%. If this is the social class you hang out with, then out of a circle of a few dozen friends and acquaintances you probably personally know four or five who are currently out of work, and of those perhaps two or three who have been out of work for six months or more and are getting truly desperate.

But if you’re a college grad? Obviously this varies from person to person, but chances are that you know only a couple of people who have been out of work for even a couple of months and nobody who’s been out of work for six months. Or, at most, maybe one. And chances are that even that one has a way better safety net — savings, parents, credit cards, etc. — than the blue collar folks who have been out of work that long.

Being out of work for a few weeks — or even a couple of months — is bad but not debilitating. It’s long-term unemployment that makes people profoundly fearful and discouraged. But among the college-educated crowd, it barely exists. The fear just isn’t there, and that makes it awfully easy to ignore.

1I’m not sure why BLS doesn’t make this stuff more easily available. If anyone has the raw data for this and can provide exact numbers, let me know.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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