The US jobless rate will remain stuck at around 9.0 percent through the end of 2012, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a dark outlook for the coming election year.
With 14 million unemployed and the government straining to find ways to generate jobs, the non-partisan CBO said that economic growth will only pick up to about 2.5 percent in 2012 from 1.5 percent this year, not enough to boost job creation above the steady rise in the size of the workforce.
"Weakness in the demand for goods and services is the principal constraint on hiring, but structural impediments in the labor market, such as a mismatch between the requirements of existing job openings and the characteristics of job seekers... appear to be hindering hiring as well," CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said in written testimony to Congress.
"As a result, the unemployment rate is likely to be around 9.0 percent through the fourth quarter of next year," identical to the current rate and half a percentage point higher than the CBO's forecast three months ago.
Elmendorf pointed out that the unemployment rate has surpassed 8.5 percent for 32 months, "the longest such period since 1947."
Moreover, the number of part-time workers seeking full-time work, nine million in total, is double the number before the 2008-2009 recession, he said.
"In October, 42 percent of workers who were unemployed had been out of work for more than 26 weeks and about 30 percent for a year or more -- rates of long-term unemployment that are unprecedented in the period following World War II."