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Obama Tries New Tack for Long-Term Jobless

Wall Street Journal (01/27/14) Ben Leubsdorf

In tonight’s State of the Union address, President Obama will ask companies to voluntarily pledge not to refuse to hire the long-term jobless. Congress and 24 state legislatures have considered bills banning jobless discrimination, but only those in New Jersey and Oregon have become law, and they are strictly limited. Obama will announce that he already has secured pledges from major U.S. employers such as Procter & Gamble Co., U.S. Bancorp, and Xerox Corp.

Some 37.7% of the 10.4 million Americans who are unemployed have been so for more than six months, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Studies have shown that people unemployed for six months or longer are much less likely to be contacted for job interviews.