Long-term Unemployment Remains High Despite American Jobs Returning
Reopen and vaccinations speed up. But there are millions of people who lost their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic and who are still unemployed. NPR's Sam Greenglass reports asked Bud Johnson what he liked about his job driving a transit bus at the University of Delaware, and he uses a single word. Everything. The sights are great. The people I work for the great and it's just a pleasant atmosphere. But he hasn't had that in almost a year. Now. You got laid off from classes, but virtual, I eat two meals a day instead of three. I do go to the pre pantry truth from them. Johnson hasn't been called back yet or been told when, or If that will happen. I am looking forward to coming back. It was a great job in January 4 million people had been unemployed for six months or more. It's what economists call long term unemployment. And we haven't seen levels this high since the great recession that worries economists. Bill Sprigs, he says. Many employers stigmatize people who haven't worked in months. The longer someone's without a job, the harder it is to find a new one. So rather than the typical way you think of a line working you show up at the movie theater. I'm first in line. I've been here I'm next. It works in the opposite. The people who are newly unemployed get the first in line and what's worse, this will likely hit vulnerable workers even harder. Women and people of color have lost the most jobs during the pandemic. They already tend to be paid class and so long term unemployment can scar their earnings permanently. Ah McKenzie study predicted It could also take two years longer for them to recover those jobs. Here's co author Quay Lin Island group, the progress we see on closing the gender gap, even take of it out of the picture. Is so slow. And so then you pause that slow glacial progress and you make negative progress. It was deeply discouraging. There's another worry too. What if certain jobs don't ever come back? How people work and live has been changing dramatically during the pandemic, and that shaken up all kinds of jobs. One of the biggest shifts has been more people working from home. That's had ripple effects for Gloria Espinosa into last April. She cleaned offices in San Francisco. Superbly store. We got a visit from our supervisor, He gathered us all on the parking lot, and he talked to us and tell us that we were gonna be laid off. I was wondering God, why us? It was like receiving a bucket of cold water. That's the way I felt a year later, the employees whose work spaces she wants clean, are still remote. And so Espinosa is still unemployed. She knows there's no guarantee, but she feels confident she will be called back to her old job when offices reopened, be instructed bombs, a necessity to move Chapman on the whole. I think that actually is going to be probably the need of additional workers because we're gonna have to make sure that we can provide that. Extra clean a space that the workers deserve. On the other end of California, Carrie Belisle wonders what her work will look like in the future. She's been a tour guide for 35 years. We are in love, Toya. Has my Minnesota group like he's traveled. Grinding to a halt last spring, Belisle has tried to keep busy, even organizing virtual tours Join me Tuesday at two for my virtual presentation about counselor Deck finally began a new full time job. What's good here at a vaccine? Put it in San Diego. It's just nice to To chat with people and especially people that are getting vaccinated because they're all so happy and excited. While knows this new job won't be permanent, she's hopeful tour Busses will start rolling again. And she can go back to work in the field She's loved for so many years. Sam bring Glass NPR news.