Research conducted by Northeastern unemployment expert Rand Ghayad helped persuade a score of corporate chief executives to attend a meeting at the White House on Friday to discuss President Barack Obama’s new initiative to combat long-term joblessness.
“Everybody was saying they wouldn’t be here today if not for this research,” said Ghayad, a doctoral candidate of economics who was invited to the meeting by Gene Sperling, the president’s national economics adviser. “I never thought my work would be so interesting to other people.”
In response to Ghayad’s studies and others like it, Obama has persuaded more than 300 businesses to sign a pledge to halt hiring practices that discriminate against the long-term unemployed. Forty-seven of the country’s top 200 corporations have agreed to the new policies, including Apple, Wal-Mart, and General Motors.
His new, though as-yet-unpublished, study builds on his initial findings, suggesting that the long-term unemployed face discrimination in the labor market. Using the same set of 3,500 fictitious résumés, he found that recently unemployed applicants with no relevant experience were more likely to be invited for an interview than those with experience who have been unemployed for more than six months.