Long-term unemployment has become a major societal challenge for member states of the EU. While in economically dynamic times, persistent joblessness has tended to be confined to people with weak links to the labor market, since the Great Recession, long-term unemployment has changed its face as it affects a wide range of workers in a number of countries.
Long-term joblessness is associated with high costs to the individuals affected and to society at large. At the individual level, it is often linked to psychological and other healthproblems that have a significant negative effect on quality of life, and generate additional long-term costs for the healthcare system and welfare services. Long-term unemploymentis a prime cause of poverty and social exclusion, thus affecting households as well as individuals. It leads to declines inindividual human capital, which in turns clouds individuals’future employment prospects and decreases income levels.
The primary objective of this study is to gain a better understanding of the shape and causes of long-termunemployment from a comparative perspective. How is long-term unemployment measured? Who are the longterm unemployed? How long are individuals’ periods of unemployment? Why do unemployed persons give up searching for a job? What factors contribute to long-term unemployment? Finally, it asks what can be done to reduce and prevent long-term unemployment.