As of December 2010, 30 percent of the 14 million Americans who were unemployed had been jobless for a year or more, according to data produced by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. That percentage is the highest since World War II, and it translates into more than 4.2 million people, roughly equivalent to the total population of Kentucky.
The problem of long-term unemployment has grown worse in the last year, even as the economy has improved. A Year or More: The High Cost of Long-Term Unemployment, a report released by the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative last April, found that in December 2009, 23 percent of the 14.7 million unemployed had been out of work for a year or longer. (The long-term unemployment rate has not increased since August 2010, as Pew found in the October 2010 Addendum.)