When Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently reflected on the obstacles for the long-term unemployed, she mentioned two Americans with criminal records.
The blogosphere lit up with claims that convicted criminals aren't representative of the typical job-seeker in America.
But recent statistics paint a more complex picture of the American workforce and those attempting to find jobs.
From The Washington Post:
A 2012 study in the medical journal Pediatrics found that nearly one-third of Americans have been arrested by age 23. In other words, people with criminal histories make up a significant portion of the population. The number of people who have been convicted of a crime is significantly smaller, with estimates ranging from 12 million to 14 million. But ex-offenders make up a substantial number of the nation's jobless - enough to depress the male employment rate by 1.5 percent to 1.7 percent in 2008, according to analysis by the Center for Economic Policy Research.
The takeaway is that workers with criminal histories are not an anomaly in the labor force: They are an integral part of it. Any discussion of how to help the unemployed find jobs includes addressing the challenges facing people with records.
Chris Farrell, senior economics contributor for Marketplace, joins The Daily Circuit to discuss the correlation between poverty, crime and unemployment.
If you've served time in prison or have family members with criminal pasts, how difficult has it been to get a good job? Leave your stories in the comments below.