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Utah's long-term unemployment is still more than double the prerecession average

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – Utah’s unemployment rate is the lowest we've seen in years, but long-term unemployment is a different story.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – Utah’s unemployment rate is the lowest we've seen in years, but long-term unemployment is a different story.

Those figures are still cause for concern.

Joni Clark, with Salt Lake Community Action Program works with Utahns who face tough questions every night.

"Do I put food on the table for my family that night or do I spend some money to get professional clothing to go to a job interview?"

Many program clients are considered long-term unemployed, meaning they have gone without work for 27 weeks or more.

In Utah 11,000 people fall into that category every month.

Down from the peak of 47,000 in April, 2010, but still more than double the prerecession average of 5000.

"The longer a person is unemployed the more difficult it is over time to find any work. So, it is a grave concern to Workforce Services when an individual becomes unemployed and we try to act proactively to ensure that someone who becomes unemployed quickly gets back into the workforce," said Chief Economist, Carrie Mayne.

About three thousand Utahns aren't being counted as long-term unemployed, because they have quit looking for a job all together.

"Those who leave the labor force could leave because they are discouraged in the job prospects, they could retire, they could make a personal decision to not return to the workforce and instead stay home with children or go back to school," said Mayne.

Thousands of others are still trying, with some serious obstacles to overcome.

"Getting to and from the job interview, once they get the job, getting to and from the job. Clothing is a barrier for them, so they can look presentable in a job interview. Also, just computer literacy and access to computers is a problem," said Clark.

About 1/3 of people in our state use up all their benefits and become long-term unemployed.

When compared to other states it's the 10th lowest in the country.

For more information on available resources click on the two links below:

Department of Workforce Services

Salt Lake Community Action Program

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