Laura D’Andrea Tyson, former chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton, explains in Economix why unemployment remains high:
“Why is the long-term unemployment problem so much more severe in this recovery? Part of the answer lies in the fact that the loss of jobs in the 2008-9 recession was more than twice as large as in previous recessions and the pace of gross domestic product growth during the recovery has been less than half the average of previous recoveries….
The economic evidence is compelling. The high unemployment rate is the result of weak demand, not structural mismatches. And the longer workers are unemployed, the more their skills, contacts and links to the labor market atrophy, the less likely they are to find a job and the more likely they are to drop out of the labor force.
As a result, what is currently a temporary long-term unemployment problem runs the risk of morphing into a permanent and costly increase in the unemployment rate and a permanent and costly decline in the economy’s potential output. That’s what the Federal Reserve is worried about. It’s too bad that more members of Congress don’t share this concern. “