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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people considered long-term unemployed has made a worrying bounce in recent months, as Friday's jobs report showed 3.8 million people had lost their jobs permanently in September.

Why it matters: That's almost twice as many as at the height of the pandemic in April.

What's happening: When the first waves of layoffs hit in March and April, most of the newly unemployed believed their job losses would be temporary (nearly eight in 10, according to the April nonfarm payrolls report) and reported they were not looking for work.

  • The flood of Americans who had just been laid off pushed the percentage of people who had been unemployed for at least 27 weeks to 4.1%, the lowest the rate has been since December 1953.
  • But as the pandemic has raged on and the economy has begun to unravel, more people have been sitting on the sidelines for longer.
  • Even with an additional 11 million people unemployed than in February, the percentage of unemployed people who have been without a job for more than six months returned to the same level it was at in February.

What's next: As of September, 2.4 million people had been out of work for 27 weeks or more and 4.8 million more had been unemployed for between 15 and 26 weeks.

  • Without a mass surge of hiring significantly above the levels seen in September (or even in August), the "tsunami" of unemployment economists warned me about in early August is poised to hit in the next couple months.
  • Many of those people could be without unemployment benefits when pandemic assistance programs expire at the end of the year.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 8, 2021 - Podcasts

America’s lethargic labor market

As the pandemic strengthens, America's labor market weakens, based on the latest monthly jobs report that showed a loss of 140,000 nonfarm payrolls.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the numbers, what they really mean and where things head next with Axios business reporters Courtenay Brown and Felix Salmon.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.