Employers who added 288,000 jobs in June showed they might be taking a more serious look at resumes from the long-term unemployed, who last month accounted for the smallest proportion of U.S. jobless ranks in five years.
Those out of work 27 weeks or longer made up 32.8 percent of unemployed Americans as the overall unemployment rate dropped to an almost six-year low of 6.1 percent, according to Labor Department data released this morning in Washington.
“You’ll see more and more businesses start to hire the longer-term unemployed and that’s going to put some downward pressure on wages as well,” said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, who was among the most accurate forecasters of the drop in unemployment.
The share of long-term unemployed remains more than twice the historical average of 15.1 percent in data going back to 1948. Other measures of labor market health, including underemployment and participation rates, haven’t returned to pre-recession levels, according to a dashboard of indicators that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said she monitors to judge the economic outlook.