By Francis Wilkinson

The U.S. economy beat expectations last month, adding 200,000 jobs in December. That means the jobs picture is slightly less grim this month. Slightly.

Here's the Hamilton Project's assessment of prospects for the unemployed:

No matter how long a worker has been unemployed, the odds that they find a job are far lower than before the recession. Furthermore, the odds of experiencing long-term unemployment are highly related to losing a job in a particularly hard-hit industry, like construction or manufacturing, and are disproportionately concentrated in certain distressed states.

The jobs gap is still 12.1 million jobs. At a rate of 208,000 new jobs per month, it will take slightly more than 12 years to close that gap, according to the Hamilton Project, a public policy group started in 2006 by the Brookings Institution. For the unemployed, the U.S. labor market remains the worst since the Great Depression.

(Francis Wilkinson is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board.)




-0- Jan/06/2012 16:40 GMT