Virginia Postrel sees a “worrisome long-term trend” for the unemployed:
Jobs are staying vacant for longer and longer periods even as unemployment is still high and labor-force participation is down. Employers aren’t willing to fill their job slots with the long-term unemployed. Real or perceived, the mismatch between jobs and job seekers is so large that they’d rather hire no one at all.
Before the current “recovery,” it was usually considered smart to stay unemployed a bit longer rather than take a job “beneath” your previous position. Otherwise you’d risk looking cheap or desperate to prospective employers.
But given that employers are now simply unwilling to hire the long-term unemployed, maybe the best option is to take work — any work — you can find. You might still look cheap or desperate to a prospective employer, but at least you won’t seem absolutely unemployable.