As many as 6.5 million Americans have been out of work for so long that they might never again participate fully in the U.S. economy, experts said. Among the jobless, a record 44% have been unemployed for more than six months. Long-term unemployment is at its highest level since the Great Depression. Labor Department statistics indicate that there are 5.5 unemployed workers for every available job, compared with two in 2007.

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