Do spatial differences in unemployment duration reflect residential sorting or a true local effect? Focusing on the 1300 municipalities of the Paris region, we apply a methodology that disentangles individual and unspecified municipality effects. Estimating a proportional hazard model stratified by municipality and recovering a survival function for each municipality purged of individual observed heterogeneity, we show that local and individual characteristics add up in their contribution to unemployment duration. While only 30% of the spatial disparities in unemployment duration are explained by individual characteristics, 70% of the remaining disparities are captured by local indicators, mainly correlated with residential segregation. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.