Washington’s long-term unemployed have encountered age discrimination and lower pay, have had to leave the state to find work, and in some cases, have stopped looking for work entirely, according to a survey released last week by the state Employment Security Department.
The survey was mailed in April to more than 30,000 people whose jobless benefits had run out since November 2009. More than 5,000 responded; the job seekers had access to nearly two years of unemployment benefits.
The survey results show:
• Nearly 50 percent said age is the toughest barrier to finding work.
• Eighty percent of those who found a job are earning on average nearly 30 percent less than at their previous job.
• Nineteen percent found out-of-state work.
• Thirteen percent have stopped looking for work.
“The survey contradicts the perception that unemployed workers wait until their benefits run out, then quickly find work,” Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause said in a statement. “We know there aren’t enough jobs to go around right now, but there may be additional factors that keep employers from hiring these workers.”
Employment Security Chief Economist Dave Wallace said the state needs to add about 6,000 jobs a month for a year to reduce the unemployment rate 1 percent. The state added 3,600 jobs in June.