Over the past 25 years the lives of working Americans have become ever less secure. Jobs come without health insurance; 401(k)'s vanish; corporations default on their pension obligations; workers lose their jobs more often, and unemployment lasts much longer than it used to.
Now, I was a bit young at the time, but I don't remember "25 years" ago as a time of comparative prosperity and security. Rather it was a time of economic chaos, high unemployment, inflation and uncertainty.
Unemployment by year
Inflation by year
It would take more research, but I am sure if you looked you would find his statments of "workers losing their jobs more often" and "staying on unemployment longer" false too. Maybe Paul was off by a few years and meant over the last "20 years", intending to compare the current situation with the Reagan boom...
UPDATE: I decided to use my future MBA skills and take a look at the statistics, starting with the claim that "unemployment lasts much longer than it used to".
To give Krugman some credit, the graph does show a slight upwards trend, depending how you measure it, although I do not know how you could call this lasting "much longer"
However, since Krugman's whole point is that people are less secure in their jobs, it is misleading to look solely at the length of unemployment among those who are unemployed. Is it logical to say that workers feel less secure over a small increase in the average duration of unemployment, set against a large drop in the rate of unemployment? The workplace has grown much more complex and technical over the last few decades, this factor alone could account for a slight rise in the time needed to get a new job, not a bad economy. Besides, if there is a low unemployment rate, the chronically unemployed underclass, those who will be unemployed no matter how the economy is, will be a larger proportion of the rate and inflate it. So what happens if we look at the percentage of long term unemployed, in this case those unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percentage of the work force as a whole?
Far from trending upward, it is actually decreasing, from cyclical peaks of 3.1% and 4.2% in 1975 and 1982, to only 2.9% and 2.5% in 1993 and 2003, respectively. This once again shows how the formerly distinguished economist, will go to any means to come up with doom and gloom scenarios for the economy, even ignoring basic facts an average college student would get.
All numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
UPDATE: Econpundit, who knows a lot more about economics than I do, picks this up. He says that the duration of unemployment has been going down, as opposed to before the 80s when it was going up. As I mentioned, it depends how you look at the graph. Regardless, it is apparent that Krugman is misrepresenting the stats to make a political point.