Ten months after the Obama administration tried to cajole businesses into considering hiring people who have been out of work for six months, a year, or several years, White House officials are reporting the results.
Some large companies have changed their hiring practices — for instance, putting in writing they do not discriminate on the basis of employment status — and some have increased the proportion of new hires who were out of work at least six months.
At Frontier Communications, 20 percent of this year's hires were previously long-term unemployed
At KPMG, a major accounting firm, 9 percent of this fiscal year hires were previously long-term unemployed
At CVS and Procter & Gamble, managers are being trained not to discriminate against applicants with work history gaps.
Wednesday, the Obama administration announced additional initiatives to spur re-employment for the long-term unemployed. It announced $170 million in grants to local job placement agencies around the country, funded by the fees for H1-B visas. Connecticut received two of the federal grants, with a combined total of $12.2 million.
Once people pass the six-month mark of unemployment, their chances of getting re-hired drop precipitously, economic papers suggest. One experiment with faux applications found employers were more likely to call someone with no experience in the field who had been out of work a month than someone with specific experience but who'd been out of work eight months.
Still, as the economy improves, so, too, have the prospects for the long-term unemployed. By the middle of 2014, someone who was long-term unemployed a year earlier had a 38 percent chance of being back to work. Someone who had been out of work just a few months had a 50 percent chance of being back to work a year later.
In January, 38 percent of all unemployed people had been out of work more than six months. Now it's 32 percent. There is no unemployment benefit paid once someone has collected for six months.
Of the Connecticut grants announced Wednesday, Capital Workforce Partners, which serves 37 towns in metro Hartford, received $6.7 million — a significant addition to its $20.2 million annual budget. The non-profit agency, which runs the one-stop employment centers, focuses on training workers for manufacturing, construction and health jobs.