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.
After reviewing unilateral changes Georgia made to its unemployment insurance (UI) rules, the U.S. Department of Labor has declared that the state has no “adequate statutory basis” for denying UI benefits to seasonal employees who work for private contractors providing services to schools. The strongly-worded guidance to Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler came in an Aug. 2 letter obtained by the Atlanta Constitution Journal and publicized in their front page story: State ordered to reverse itself on some unemployment claims.
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.
Many U.S. workers don’t have jobs—nearly 13 million. Less known, however, is that many more don’t have good jobs—fewer than one-quarter of America’s workforce, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). The center defines a good job as one that pays at least $18.50 an hour, or $37,000 per year, equal to the inflation-adjusted earnings of the typical male worker in 1979. A good job also includes employer-provided health insurance and a retirement plan (click on chart at left to expand).
The lack of available good jobs is not new. As CEPR finds, compared with 1979, the U.S. economy has lost about one-third (28 percent to 38 percent) of its capacity to generate good jobs.
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.
Whether a blip or a (bad) new trend, data showing the number of U.S. job seekers is rising, compared with jobs available, should light a fire under Republicans in Congress to move a jobs creation package.
New data released today show the Job-Seekers Ratio increased in April to 3.7 workers for every 1 job from March’s ratio of 3.4 workers for every one job.
In the midst of a terrible jobs crisis, there are those in North Carolina who seek to cut assistance for those who have lost their jobs. That’s just plain wrong.
Currently, North Carolina’s Chamber of Commerce seeks to restrict unemployment benefits by reducing the maximum weekly income from $506 to $350. In addition to the monetary cut, the time allowed to receive benefits could be reduced from 26 weeks to 20 weeks. The restriction of unemployment benefits will devastate hundreds of thousands of families who are actively looking for work.
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.