This op-ed originally appeared in Roll Call.
People who have been without work for a long period of time are hurting. Even the most tenacious job seeker becomes discouraged over time, and their skills inevitably erode. The longer you are out of a job, the less attractive you become to employers, who wonder why you cannot find work. It is a vicious cycle, and your ability to support yourself and your family deteriorates.
Although some things have improved since the Great Recession, the job prospects for the long-term unemployed have not. Many companies now explicitly advertise that they will not accept job applications from people who are not currently working elsewhere.
That is why it is a good thing that President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to address the issue. The president's call to help the long-term unemployed is right in line with his larger theme of creating good jobs to help bolster the middle class as part of an "opportunity agenda."
Read the complete op-ed.