One piece of evi­dence comes from the rela­tion­ship between job open­ings and unem­ploy­ment. Nor­mally these two num­bers move inversely: the more job open­ings, the fewer Amer­i­cans out of work. And this tra­di­tional rela­tion­ship remains true if we look at short-​​term unem­ploy­ment. But as William Dickens and Rand Ghayad of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity recently showed, the rela­tion­ship has broken down for the long-​​term unem­ployed: a rising number of job open­ings doesn’t seem to do much to reduce their num­bers. It’s as if employers don’t even bother looking at anyone who has been out of work for a long time.

To test this hypoth­esis, Mr. Ghayad then did an exper­i­ment, sending out résumés describing the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and employ­ment his­tory of 4,800 fic­ti­tious workers. Who got called back? The answer was that workers who reported having been unem­ployed for six months or more got very few call­backs, even when all their other qual­i­fi­ca­tions were better than those of workers who did attract employer interest.

Read the article at The New York Times →