Along with the highest rates of unemployment in a generation, the current recession has been characterized by record levels of long-term unemployment. In April, the median length of unemployment in the United States was 21.6 weeks, up from 15.1 weeks in 2009 and well over double the median unemployment spell of 8.4 weeks at the start of the recession in December 2007. The Map shows the median length of unemployment by state in 2009, the most recent time for which state-level data are available. It shows that job searches were taking the longest in Michigan and South Carolina (19.4 weeks), followed by Florida (18.1 weeks), and Rhode Island (17.0 weeks). States where job searches were shortest include Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming, where the median length of unemployment was slightly less than eight weeks in 2009.
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