NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Economists used to say an unemployment rate around 5% was normal, but the recession may have changed all that.
The new norm may now be more like 6.7%, according to a paper released by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Monday.
The report comes amid much discussion about what the "new normal" should be. Unemployment has remained above 9% for 21 straight months, and economists and policymakers, including Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, have repeatedly said it's likely to remain high through the next several years.
And that spurs experts to ask, is high unemployment a permanent economic condition, or merely a temporary phenomenon?
Experts at the San Francisco Fed say a higher rate is probably temporary, but driven by some deep-seated structural issues.
Unemployment is staying high partly because of a mismatch between workers' skills and what employers are looking for, say John Williams, an executive vice president at the San Francisco Fed, and research associate Justin Weidner.
Roughly 44% of the unemployed have been out of a job for more than six months. Their skills deteriorate and it becomes even harder to find a job.
Add to that the housing bust, which left millions of homeowners underwater on their mortgages, and it's harder for workers to relocate to places where jobs are growing more rapidly.
All those factors may have raised the "normal" unemployment rate, Williams and Weidner say.
They also point to jobless benefits, which Congress has extended from 26 weeks to 99 weeks.
'Chevy Guy' Rikk Wilde became a viral sensation bumbling his way through a World Series presentation Wednesday night. More
The Bank of Japan is going for broke and expanding its already aggressive stimulus plan. More
Microsoft's new Band smartwatch claims to make you a better human, and to know you better than you know yourself. More
San Francisco-based Tumml is an accelerator fostering 'urban impact start-ups' that aim to tackle civic problems -- and turn a profit. More
Amy Kukec thought leaving her abusive husband would be the beginning of a new life, but so far she's hit one debilitating financial roadblock after another. More