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The Long-Term Unemployed In NJ Face Catch-22 Situation [AUDIO]

After the Great Recession began back in 2008, many folks who lost their jobs have never been able to find new ones.

Unemployment Office
Flickr User Burt Lum

The number of long-term unemployed people in Jersey and across the country – who have been looking for work for more than 6 months – has consistently topped 40 percent since 2009.

New Jersey is the first state in the nation to pass legislation that bans discrimination of the long-term unemployed who are seeking job opportunities – but many experts believe the problem still exists here.

Lewis Maltby, President of the National Workrights Institute in Princeton, says “not hiring people because they’ve been unemployed for a long time is really unfair and totally crazy – but I could see why some employers would do it -employers are very risk averse – the worst thing you can do is hire an employee who doesn’t work out – so they could be thinking – maybe the reason this person has been unemployed for a year because they’re not a very good employee – maybe that’s why they haven’t gotten a job yet.”

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He says they’ll decide “let’s play it safe and hire the guy who’s only been out of work for a month- that’s the kind of thinking that goes on…it’s completely unfair – what could be more unfair than saying – you’re out of work so you need to get a job- but you can’t get a job because you’re out of work – it’s the ultimate catch 22.”

Maltby adds if an employer looks at somebody’s work record and doesn’t think they’ve been a very good employee in the past – they shouldn’t have to hire them, “but you shouldn’t refuse to hire somebody just because they’ve been unemployed for a long time- if you’re a good employer, do your homework and evaluate the person’s past performance and make a decision.”

He also points out “there’s no way of knowing how often it happens because it’s not an official company policy- no company is going to pass an official policy that says we won’t hire anybody who been unemployed for a year – it’s just going to be something they’re going to do without talking about it.”

More than a other dozen states – from Connecticut to California – are now considering anti-bias unemployment legislation similar to the law now in effect in the Garden state.

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