The Wall Street Journal this week reported on the estimate of people who have been out of work three years but told a survey-taker that they have applied for a job within the last month.
The U.S. Labor Department says across the country, 649,000 people fall into this category.
The number of people out of work more than three years is not falling, even as people who have been out of work from six months to nearly three years have been returning to work, the analysis said.
For instance, according to seasonally adjusted data for December, 3,269,000 people had been unemployed for a year or more. A year earlier, that number was 3,881,000.
The average time someone had been unemployed was 37 weeks, about eight and a half months. A year earlier, the average had been 39.7 weeks, more than nine months.