Friday morning could bring more good news about the economy when the Labor Department releases its latest monthly jobs report.
Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict the report will show 193,000 jobs were added in December, consistent with a story of solid hiring in the last four months of 2013. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 7% as some workers rejoin the labor force.
In short, economists seem convinced that the jobs recovery has gained momentum, but there's still a major problem. Employers are favoring the newly unemployed, and leaving behind the Americans who have been out of work for longer periods of time.
Take a look at the "typical" unemployed person (if there is such a thing). According to the latest data, it takes this person 17 weeks -- or about 4 months -- to either find a job, or stop looking for one. That's the median duration of unemployment, and it's more than double what it was before the recession began.
But what about those workers who take much longer than the median?
About 37% of the unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or more (that's about 7 months!), and their job prospects look increasingly dim.
According to calculations from the Council of Economic Advisers, a person who has been unemployed for five weeks or less, has a 31% chance of getting a job. Once they've been unemployed between 27 and 52 weeks though, those odds drop to 12%.
What happens once you're unemployed for more than a year? The odds drop to just 9%.
There are 4 million Americans in this unfortunate situation. They've already been unemployed for 27 weeks, and the odds of getting a job just keep dropping. Who are they?
About 34% of them are men considered to be in the prime working ages of 25 to 54, and another 29% are women of that age.
About 18% are young workers under age 25, and 15% are workers on the cusp of the traditional retirement age, between 55 to 64 years old.
The remaining 4% are people who are 65 years or older, but would still like to work.
"I just want everybody to understand – this is not an abstraction. These are not statistics," President Obama said Tuesday, as he pushed for Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits. "These are your neighbors, your friends, your family members. It could at some point be any of us."
Amid constant stories of sequester-related cuts, here's a rare place where the government is increasing its spending: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently ramped up its monthly survey of businesses, leading to the highest response rate on record for the February jobs report.
Perhaps that's one reason the revisions were so large.
Here's what happened: When the Labor Department released the jobs report Friday morning, it wasn't just the April numbers that came MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - May 3, 2013 5:51 PM ET
The Labor Department will release its latest update on the U.S. job market Friday morning, and the outlook is neither rosy nor gloom and doom. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney are expecting 140,000 jobs were created in April.
While that would be an improvement compared to the meager 88,000 jobs added in March, it's really not much to write home about either. Over the past 12 months, the U.S. economy added an MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - May 2, 2013 2:58 PM ET
The labor market improved in February, and the jobs Oscar goes to... Hollywood?
The entire U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February, but the film industry deserves a special shout-out. This sector alone added 21,000 jobs, marking a 5% employment boost in motion picture and sound jobs in just one month.
This is highly unusual, and while the data can be choppy from month to month, it is not a statistical fluke, MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Mar 8, 2013 12:22 PM ET
Forget the "mancession" or the "he-covery." Men suffered the biggest job losses in the financial crisis, and also gained the most post-recession jobs.
But now, men and women have equal footing in the recovery.
As of November, both genders have gained back half the jobs they lost in the financial crisis, according to Labor Department data.
The recession hit male-dominated industries like construction and manufacturing, far harder than female-dominated industries like health care MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Dec 9, 2012 2:27 PM ET
A weak August jobs report signaled hiring continues to slog along at a snail's pace, giving the Federal Reserve even more reason to enact more stimulative measures -- possibly as soon as next week.
The economy added just 96,000 jobs in August. And even though the unemployment rate dipped to 8.1% from 8.3% in July, any number above 8% is still uncomfortably high for the Fed. (Inflation, on the other hand, is MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Sep 7, 2012 10:21 AM ET
Last time I checked, 2012 isn't the year of the Third Red Scare. Maybe I'm wrong?
Imagine my surprise when I received a press release in my email this morning, complaining about a woman with ties to "radical Jewish" and "Communist" views infiltrating the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I had to double check my calendar. Yep, it's still 2012.
This inflammatory allegation was not based on the person's career and academic record MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Jul 19, 2012 3:08 PM ET
The Department of Labor has asked Sandia National Laboratories to take a look at its data security procedures, including how the agency keeps the all-important monthly jobs report secret until its official release.
Yes -- the same Sandia National Laboratories that safeguards the nuclear arsenal of the United States.
The company's involvement was first reported by CNBC, and an agency official confirmed details to CNNMoney.
According to the official, the agency is now MORECharles Riley - Mar 8, 2012 3:43 PM ET
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