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Chances of getting a job

The job market has improved since the dismal days of the recession. But statistics show there are still many people wanting a job who don’t have one. Is there any factor or measure that seems to be related to the likelihood of an unemployed person landing a job? NC State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“Well there are many factors, but one of the surest factors is how long the person has been unemployed. This is a factor that really has an impact on how quickly a person will get a job. For example, right now if you are an unemployed person, and you have been unemployed for less than five months, you’ve got about a 35 percent chance of getting a job in the next month — which is much better than it was during the recession, when it was about 30 percent.

“However, if you are an unemployed person and you have been for a year, your chance of getting work is only 10 percent, and that’s only a little better than the 8 percent chance you had during the recession. Now a likely reason for these differences is skill levels: That is to say … people who don’t have the right skills for the current job market tend to be unemployed longer, and the longer they are unemployed the more employers will look at them and say, ‘Well, you just don’t have what we need.’ And so they continue to be unemployed.

“So this is a very, very interesting statistic and relationship, and I think it does talk to the issue that we need to focus on: making sure that people who don’t have jobs have the right skills for the job market.”