Jessica Camacho is a policy intern at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C.
As a low-income and first-generation college student in my family, the subject of student loans has been a matter of acute concern to me. High school counselors constantly told me that student loans are “good debt.” This type of information made it justifiable for peers in similar socioeconomic situations to borrow federal and private loans. But lenders take advantage of first-time borrowers by failing to explain in full detail future payment plans, which may cause individuals to be fiscally unprepared for post-graduate life. Current student debt trends must be fixed in order to stop setting up graduates for a lifetime of financial struggles.
This month marks the end of the federal extended unemployment insurance benefits program for 35 states with the nation’s highest jobless rates. More than half a million long-term jobless workers have lost their unemployment lifeline. Chad Stone of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) says:
As we’ve explained previously, EB [extended benefits] will no longer be available in any state, not because most states’ economies have improved to anywhere near pre-recession conditions, but because they have not significantly deteriorated in the past three years.
Some good news on the job front: 163,000 jobs were created in July, although the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2percent in June to 8.3 percent last month. So far this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, roughly the same as in 2011, according to Department of Labor data released this morning (click on chart to expand).
The big rise in jobs—many analysts expected 100,000 jobs or fewer would be created in July—is a good step toward economic recovery. But the July data also include several indicators showing difficulties in recovering gains lost since the recession. For instance, long-term jobless workers—those without work for 27 weeks or more—continue to see little change, with 5.2 million remaining unemployed. They account for 40.7 percent of jobless workers.
Relying upon a bogus interpretation of federal law and regulations, the state of Georgia has begun to deny seasonal workers the unemployment insurance (UI) benefits they have received for 16 years during their off seasons. Thousands of workers are affected—contract school bus drivers, bus monitors, longtime crossing guards, cafeteria cooks, janitors, landscapers and teachers in private religious schools.
Nevada has the highest unemployment rate at 12 percent and the highest foreclosure rate in the state. Workers in the building trades industry are experiencing 60 percent to 90 percent unemployment.
This is why Danny Thompson, Nevada State AFL-CIO executive secretary-treasurer, and local unions gathered outside the office of Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) last week to ask him to support the Bring Jobs Home Act (S. 3364 [formerly S. 2884]), which is expected to get a vote on Thursday. Watch the YouTube video here.
The number of new jobs rose by 80,000 in June and the unemployment rate stayed at 8.2 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data out this morning. The boost in jobs is less than the 100,000 needed per month to keep up with the growing workforce, and far short of what’s needed to replenish the millions of jobs that have never been regained since the recession’s onset.
Private employment, which excludes government agencies, increased by 84,000 in June, the weakest in 10 months. In fact, the number of those working for public-sector jobs decreased by 4,000.
African American workers’ jobless rate in 2011 hovered between 9.7 percent and 22.6 percent in 19 major metropolitan areas, according to new data from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Overall, the black unemployment rate was two to three times as high as that of whites. EPI also found that the 2011 unemployment rate among Latino workers was higher than 10 percent in 17 of 25 metro areas.
Jobs increased by only 69,000 in May, well below the 100,000 per month needed just to keep up with new job entrants, according to data the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released this morning and far from the 226,000 average number of new jobs created in the first three months of the year. The unemployment rate worsened from 8.1 percent in April to 8.2 percent in May.