The “99 Club”: 1 Million and Counting

Many thanks to statistics geek and retired guy Arsen Darnay for digging up this gem from a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) commissioner’s presentation in January 2011. It shows what’s hard to find anywhere else: an estimate of how many people have been unemployed for 99 weeks or longer.

The significance of “99 weeks” is this: Even if you qualify for every (temporary) extension of Unemployment Insurance Congress has provided during the Great Recession – a big “if” – you cannot get benefits for more than 99 weeks altogether on one stretch. The first batch of “99ers” began to reach that limit and run out of benefits last year; since then, the club has grown each week – but the BLS hasn’t publicized their statistics.

Enter Arsen Darnay to the rescue. It took some doing, but he managed to find this presentation buried somewhere in the BLS Web site. It shows that, as of December 2010 (or thereabouts), more than 1 million people have been unemployed for 99 weeks or longer.

It’s a club no one wants to belong to.

Unemployment chart

Long-term Unemployment Averages, 1980-2010

Arsen Darnay’s site – old and new – have many more quirky and insightful things to say about the state of the economy and the people.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by miracles on June 2, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Update: As of May 31, 2011, the “number of individuals [in California] who have run out of benefits is now over 431,000,” per the California Employment Development Department .


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