Long term unemployment now five years

Following Congressional approval of extending unemployment benefits for over two years, the US Department's bureau of Labor Statistics has announced

Effective with data for January 2011, the Current Population Survey (CPS) will be modified to allow respondents to report longer durations of unemployment. Presently, the CPS accepts unemployment durations of up to 2 years; any response of unemployment duration greater than this is entered as 2 years. Starting with data for January 2011, respondents will be able to report unemployment durations of up to 5 years. This change will likely affect estimates of average (mean) duration of unemployment. The change will not affect the estimate of the number of unemployed persons and will not affect other data series on the duration of unemployment.

There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of persons with very long durations of unemployment during the recent labor market downturn. Nearly 10 percent of unemployed persons had been looking for work for about 2 years or more in the third quarter of 2010. Because of this increase, BLS and the Census Bureau are updating the CPS instrument to accept reported unemployment durations of up to 5 years. This upper bound was selected to allow reporting of considerably longer durations while limiting the effect of erroneous extreme values (outliers).

Is this perhaps why?

Consumer Confidence Shows Surprise Drop In December

U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly deteriorated in December, hurt by increasing worries about the jobs market, according to a private report released on Tuesday.

The surprise is that some are still surprised at this. After all the multi trillion dollar stimulus indebtedness along with the ability to collect unemployment for over two years while President Barack Obama (D) talks about sharing the wealth instead of creating new wealth, thereby punishing responsible behavior while rewarding deviant actions should have increased confidence. Well, shouldn't it have?