Federal spending on long-term unemployment compounds budget woes

The economy added 162,000 jobs in March but the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7 percent. That figure rises to 16.7 percent when long-term unemployed are included.

Once those age 55 and older, a relatively small part of the overall unemployed population, have the hardest time finding new employment. Nearly 30 percent of the age group remains jobless for a year or longer. 

Those with college educations also have struggled to find new work with 21 percent of workers with at least a bachelors degree out of work for a year or more compared with27 percent of unemployed workers with high school diplomas and 23 percent who have less than a high school diploma.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that unemployment will hover around 9 percent through 2011 and won't return to a 5 percent until 2016, the report said.