Long-term unemployment warrants action now and is projected to get worse, by Heidi Shierholz: "The White House has demanded that legislators not extend unemployment benefits as part of the upcoming economic stimulus package, despite the fact that the latest jobs report from the Department of Labor shows that long-term unemployment is already a problem. After the last recession, Congress first extended unemployment benefits to those who had exhausted their 26 weeks of standard benefits in March 2002. While the unemployment rate at that time was higher than it is now—5.7% in March 2002 versus 4.9% last month—the more relevant figure is how many jobless workers have exhausted their unemployment insurance. The chart below shows that the total number of long-term unemployed is substantially higher now-1.4 million workers last month compared to 1.3 million in March 2002. In other words, today 1.4 million workers have exhausted their entitlement to unemployment compensation but are still actively trying to find work."