Nearly 2 million long-term jobless Americans will lose their unemployment insurance lifeline just days after Christmas if Congress doesn’t act to renew the federal unemployment insurance program for job seekers out of work six months or longer. The program expires at the end of the year. Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), says if long-term jobless aid ends,
The basic economic security floor will be ripped from under two million unemployed workers.
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.
Older workers who lose their jobs have the highest rate of long-term unemployment compared to any other age group. In 2011, more than half of jobless workers, ages 50 years and older, were out of work for more than six months. The trend continues this year. Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), told the Senate Special Committee on Aging this afternoon:
The prospects are dim for older workers who lose their jobs.
We asked economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), to expand upon recent reports that show a marked improvement in the nation’s jobs picture. In January, 243,000 jobs were created and unemployment dropped significantly for some of the hardest-hit workers. Baker’s intepretation of the data presents a still-mixed economic picture, but one bright point stands out clearly: President Obama’s support of the U.S. auto industry has been key to improving job creation for America’s workers. Be sure to pick up a copy of Baker’s latest book, The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive.
More troubling news on the downward economic spiral of America’s working families. In 2010, median household income declined and the poverty rate increased, according to U.S. Census Bureau data announced this morning.
Roughly half of the workers who lost jobs during the recession are employed (51 percent), about one-third are unemployed (33 percent) and the remainder are not in the labor force, according to survey results released Sept. 1 by Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center and a co-author of the study, said, “The workers we surveyed, who represent the views of millions of unemployed Americans,
are eager—if not desperate—for the government to create policies that will bring down high unemployment and grow the economy.
The new year started with better but not great news on the jobs front. The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labor released this morning show that unemployment dropped from 9.8 percent in November to 9.4 percent in December.