Jobless Benefits – Pennsylvania

Changed rules for jobless pay exclude some workers, By Daniel Moore, February 2, 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Amid the sharp downturn in the steel industry and the closure of several power plants in southwestern Pennsylvania, work has been steadily disappearing for Keith Evans. The 53-year-old boilermaker from Brookline is called on intermittently for jobs related to maintenance at industrial facilities.  But the state won’t let him collect unemployment compensation as he scours for jobs. Thousands of seasonal workers were ruled ineligible to receive jobless pay under cost-cutting measures put into effect in January 2013 under former Gov. Tom Corbett.  Although the intention wasn’t to exclude such workers, efforts in Harrisburg to bring some of them back into the fold haven’t worked yet…”

Economic Recovery

U.S. economic recovery looks distant as growth stalls, By Binyamin Appelbaum, June 11, 2014, New York Times: “Recessions are always painful, but the Great Recession that ran from late 2007 to the middle of 2009 may have inflicted a new kind of pain: an era of slower growth. It has been five years since the official end of that severe economic downturn. The nation’s total annual output has moved substantially above the prerecession peak, but economic growth has averaged only about 2 percent a year, well below its historical average. Household incomes continue to stagnate, and millions of Americans still can’t find jobs. And a growing number of experts see evidence that the economy will never rebound completely. . .”

Unemployment

  • This is why it’s so hard to define unemployment, By Ylan Q. Mui, June 5, 2014, Washington Post: “What does it mean to be unemployed? Depends on what country you’re in.On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department is slated to release its monthly snapshot of the health of the labor market. Calculating the number of people who are unemployed seems like a pretty straightforward task. But the years since the Great Recession have highlighted the complexities of one of the country’s the most critical economic indicators. There is universal agreement that unemployed people meet two basic requirements: They don’t have a job, and they want a job. Those characteristics separate the unemployed from, say, your 90-year-old grandmother who is retired . . .”
  • U.S. Payrolls Rose 217,000 in May, Unemployment at 6.3%, Nearly a 6-Year LowBy Victoria Stilwell, June 6, 2014, Bloomberg: “Payrolls pushed past their U.S. pre-recession peak for the first time in May, a milestone that’s been five years in the making. The 217,000 advance in hiring followed a 282,000 gain in April, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. It marked the fourth consecutive month employment increased by more than 200,000, the first time that’s happened since early 2000. The jobless rate unexpectedly held at an almost six-year low of 6.3 percent. ‘We’re seeing the continuation of solid payrolls gains, which is an accomplishment for the economy,’ said Laura Rosner, U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York . . .”

Unemployment Poll

  • For those out of work, scant optimism in finding the next job, poll findsBy Brenda Cronin, May 21, 2014, Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. labor market’s springtime pickup has yet to brighten the outlook of job-seekers, who say their employment prospects are still stuck in the winter doldrums. Almost half of unemployed men and women have abandoned the hunt for new work, according to a survey released Wednesday. The poll also revealed that job-seekers hadn’t entirely despaired of returning to work at some point: 91% respondents said they were hopeful of finding a desirable position in the next six months. The online poll, which was conducted in April, reflects the views of 1,500 U.S. adults age 18 or older who are able to work but have been unemployed for various lengths of time. About 20% of respondents said they were receiving unemployment benefits. . .”
  • Nearly half of unemployed not looking for work, poll findsBy Tiffany Hsu, May 21, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “Some 47% of unemployed Americans say they’ve given up on looking for work, according to a poll commissioned by staffing firm Express Employment Professionals. More than half say looking for work has been more difficult than expected; only 2 in 10 currently receive unemployment benefits. Among the rest, nearly a third aren’t eligible and 30% never applied, according to the data, which was collected by Harris Poll from April 9 to 21 from among 1,500 unemployed adults. Unless I have a masters or a PhD that allows me to make $50,000 a year with a good job, I’ll be looking at $8 an hour. A plurality of poll respondents – 45% — said they blame the economy most of all for their situation. . .”

Long-term Unemployment

The odds you’ll join the ranks of the long-term unemployed, By Matt O’Brien, May 16, 2014, Washington Post: “Long-term unemployment is a terrifying trap that, even in the best of times, is difficult to escape. And it’s a trap that you can get stuck in for no reason other than bad luck. Today, there are still almost 3.5 million people who have been out of work for six months or longer and are looking for work. There isn’t a more urgent crisis, and there are three things you should keep in mind about it. 1. As former CEA Chair Alan Krueger found, the long-term unemployed aren’t much different from the short-term unemployed. They’re a little older and more of them are African-Americans, but they’re just about as educated and work in the same industries as everyone else who’s trying to find a job. 2. The long-term unemployed have a hard time getting companies to even look at their job applications, let alone hire them. . .”

Low-Wage Employment

  • Recovery has created far more low-wage jobs than better-paid ones, By Annie Lowrey, April 27, 2014, New York Times: “The deep recession wiped out primarily high-wage and middle-wage jobs. Yet the strongest employment growth during the sluggish recovery has been in low-wage work, at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants. In essence, the poor economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones. That is the conclusion of a new report from the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy group, analyzing employment trends four years into the recovery…”
  • Low-wage jobs proliferate as middle class ones disappear: job growth patterns since the recession, By Olivera Perkins, April 30, 2014, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Lower-wage jobs have continued to proliferate since the Great Recession, as the economy creates fewer of the mid-wage jobs that have for generations been the backbone of the middle class, according to a new report. The report released this week by the nonprofit National Employment Law Project, or NELP, said that lower-wage industries accounted for 22 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, but 44 percent of employment growth over the past four years. Median hourly pay in lower-wage industries ranged from $9.48 to $13.33, according to the report…”

Sequestration and Long-Term Unemployed

Sequester Hits the Long-Term Unemployed, By Catherine Rampell, July 2, 2013, New York Times: “Sunday was the five-year anniversary of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, a federal program signed into law by President George W. Bush that initially added 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to the standard 26 weeks states already offered eligible jobless workers. The 13 additional weeks of benefits were intended to be temporary, but as the recession worsened, Congress decided to keep the program going and even lengthened the amount of time that workers could receive benefits. For a while workers could receive as many as 99 weeks in some states, the longest duration of jobless benefits on record.Those benefits have been pared back over the last year and a half, though, and are being cut more severely now as a result of the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester. A new report from the National Employment Law Project calculates exactly how much. . .”

 

Inadequate Emergency Funds

Many Americans struggle to maintain emergency funds, By Jennifer Elizabeth Austin-Mathewson, July 2, 2013, Deseret News: “When Jessi Stanley received a $15,000 inheritance, she dreamt about all the things she could do with the extra money. She wanted to put a down payment on a new house or buy a new car. But the 48-year-old from North Carolina knew what it was like to be poor, and decided to do something most Americans — according to Bankrate — aren’t doing: put the money in savings. “I saved approximately $40,000 over 14 years,” Stanley said. “A lot was from extra money I received.” That extra money came from tax refunds, money her father gave her that was supposed to be used for a new car and small inheritances. After paying off her car, she continued to make “car payments” to her savings account. According to a survey released last week. . .”

 

Jobless Benefits – Delaware

Jobless benefits bill: 1-week waiting period, higher taxes, By Jonathan Starkey, June 2, 2013, News Journal: “Delaware racked up more than $70 million in debt sending out unemployment checks during the recession. Now the bill is coming due, and proposed legislation would pay down the debt by raising taxes on businesses and forcing jobless Delawareans to wait a week before collecting state benefits. Gov. Jack Markell is backing the proposed changes, which administration officials say would stave off even higher federal taxes in coming years. The proposal is working its way in the Legislature. Delaware, which is not the only state needing to tackle the problem, began borrowing from the federal government in March 2010 to pay for unemployment benefits, with the bill reaching as high as $78.5 million. The state-administered unemployment trust fund currently owes about $71.5 million…”

Youth Unemployment – Europe

Euro leaders unite to tackle soaring youth unemployment rates, By Rupert Neate and Graeme Wearden, May 28, 2013, The Guardian: “European leaders yesterday warned that youth unemployment – which stands at up to 59% in some countries – could lead to a continent-wide ‘catastrophe’ and widespread social unrest aimed at member state governments. The French, German and Italian governments yesterday joined together to launch initiatives to ‘rescue an entire generation’ who fear they will never find jobs. More than 7.5m young Europeans aged between 15-24 are not employed or in education or training, according to European Union data. The rate of youth unemployment is more than double that of adults, and more than half of young people in Greece (59%) and Spain (55%) are unemployed…”

Youth Unemployment

Generation jobless, April 27, 2013, The Economist: “Helder Pereira is a young man with no work and few prospects: a 21-year-old who failed to graduate from high school and lost his job on a building site four months ago. With his savings about to run out, he has come to his local employment centre in the Paris suburb of Sevran to sign on for benefits and to get help finding something to do. He’ll get the cash. Work is another matter. Youth unemployment in Sevran is over 40%. A continent away in Athlone, a gritty Cape Town suburb, Nokhona, a young South African mother of two, lacks a ‘matric’ or high-school qualification, and has been out of work since October 2010, when her contract as a cleaner in a coffee shop expired. She hopes for a job as a maid, and has sought help from DreamWorker, a charity that tries to place young jobseekers in work. A counsellor helps Nokhona brush up her interview skills. But the jobless rate among young black South Africans is probably around 55%. Official figures assembled by the International Labour Organisation say that 75m young people are unemployed, or 6% of all 15- to 24-year-olds. But going by youth inactivity, which includes all those who are neither in work nor education, things look even worse…”

Unemployment in Spain and France

Austerity blamed as unemployment soars in Spain and France, By Phillip Inman and Giles Tremlett, April 25, 2013, The Guardian: “Unemployment has soared to records in both France and Spain as the impact of government spending cuts and a collapse in consumer confidence forced employers to shed thousands of workers. Spain’s persistent rise in unemployment reached new heights over the first three month of this year, leaving a record 27% of the workforce jobless…”

Euro Zone Unemployment

Unemployment in euro zone reaches a record 12%, By David Jolly, April 2, 2013, New York Times: “While the euro zone has been transfixed lately by the Cyprus meltdown, another and potentially bigger European crisis has continued to simmer: record-high unemployment. Spending cuts and tax increases aimed at trimming debt and addressing the financial crises in bailed-out euro zone countries, and the rising rate of joblessness in much of the currency bloc, ‘are feeding off of each other,’ said Mark Cliffe, chief economist at ING Group. ‘It’s a bit of a vicious circle,’ he said. ‘Europe is pursuing a policy that is self-evidently failing.’ The euro zone jobless rate rose to 12.0 percent in the first two months of the year, the latest in a series of record highs tracing to late 2011, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, reported Tuesday…”

Euro Zone Unemployment

Euro zone unemployment rises to record, By David Jolly, March 1, 2013, New York Times: “The unemployment rate in the euro zone edged up in January to a new record, official data showed Friday, as the ailing European economy continued to weigh on the job market. That, and new data showing a decline in inflation in the euro zone, could prompt the European Central Bank to take steps to stimulate the economy when its Governing Council meets this week, analysts said…”

Eurozone Joblessness and Poverty

  • Brussels fears ‘poverty trap’ for half of Europe as North-South gap widens, By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, January 8, 2013, The Telegraph: “The jobless rate has reached an all-time high of 26.6pc in Spain, rising to 56.5pc for youth. It is much the same picture in Greece, where unemployment has spiked from 19pc to 26pc over the past year as austerity bites in earnest, with Portugal not far behind as it follows suit with draconian cuts. There are now 18.8m people looking for work across the eurozone…”
  • Poverty gap widens between member states, By Nikolaj Nielsen, January 8, 2013, EUobserver: “The economic crisis, which has stripped the social welfare rights of millions, is contributing to a widening poverty gap between member states, the European Commission has said. The worst affected are young people, unemployed women and single mothers in member states predominately located in the east and south of the Union…”

Euro Zone Unemployment

Unemployment in euro zone rises to a new high, By David Jolly and Jack Ewing, November 30, 2012, New York Times: “Unemployment in the euro zone rose to a new high in October, according to official data released Friday. But the head of the European Central Bank tempered the bad news by predicting that the region’s economy would begin to recover next year. Mario Draghi, the E.C.B. president, cautioned that, ‘We haven’t gotten out of the crisis yet.’ But he told Europe 1 radio in Paris, ‘The recovery for the entire euro zone will no doubt begin in the second half of 2013.’ That was a firmer forecast than Mr. Draghi gave earlier last month, when he said only that growth next year would be weak. And it came as separate data indicated that inflation continued to fall, giving the E.C.B. more leeway to pump cash into the economy if needed…”

Euro Zone Unemployment

  • Unemployment in euro zone at record high, By David Jolly and Raphael Minder, October 1, 2012, New York Times: “New data Monday showing record jobless rates in the euro zone underscored the pain inflicted by the slowing world economy and the financial problems plaguing many of the countries that share the euro currency. Unemployment in the 17-member euro area rose to 11.4 percent in August, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union, reported from Luxembourg. The agency also revised the figure for June and July to 11.4 percent, up from the previously reported 11.3 percent, which was already a record level for the region since the introduction of the euro in 1999…”
  • Unemployment in 17-country eurozone holds steady at record 11.4 percent in August, Associated Press, October 1, 2012, Washington Post: “Unemployment across the 17 countries that use the euro remained at its record high rate of 11.4 percent in August renewing concerns that efforts to slash debts have sacrificed jobs. While European leaders have calmed financial markets in recent months with promises to cut spending and build a tighter union, they haven’t solved the eurozone’s deep-rooted economic problems and the rising tide of joblessness…”

Euro Zone Unemployment

Eurozone’s record unemployment of 11.3 percent in July shows tough task ahead for leaders, Associated Press, August 31, 2012, Washington Post: “The unemployment rate across the 17 countries that use the euro remained at a record high of 11.3 percent in July, official figures showed Friday, underscoring the huge task leaders face to restore confidence in the continent’s economy. The European Union’s statistical agency, Eurostat, said 88,000 more people were without a job in July – for a total of 18 million – as governments and companies continued to trim payrolls to deal with problems of high debt and weak consumer spending…”

Jobs Recovery Favors Single, Younger Workers

Why the jobs recovery favors single workers, By Annalyn Censky, August 15, 2012, CNN Money: “As the economy slowly recovers, single people are finding jobs much faster than their married peers. Single men and women lost about 5 million jobs during the financial crisis, and have since gained back 90% of them, according to the Labor Department. That’s not too shabby, especially considering the jobs recovery has been so slow. But married people, who make up a slightly larger part of the adult population, lost even more jobs and have gained far fewer back. Of the 6 million jobs they lost, they’ve recouped only about 22%. Could employers be favoring single workers? That’s unlikely, economists say. The real story probably lies in other demographic factors. . .”

Poverty in the US

  • U.S. poverty heads toward highest level in 50 years, By Hope Yen, July 23, 2012, Chicago Tribune: “The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net. Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections. The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965…”
  • Connecticut’s ribbon of hardship, By Esmé E. Deprez, July 5, 2012, Businessweek: “Jodey Lazarus’s brown eyes follow the red grapes down checkout lane 11’s conveyor belt, then focus on the cash register to verify she’s getting the 99¢-a-pound price promised in the weekly ShopRite circular. The bill is just short of $70. Lazarus, 29, takes a breath, drops her gaze and extends her silver state benefits card. The card machine fails to read the damaged magnetic strip. The cashier squints at the numbers. ‘It doesn’t swipe?’ ‘No. It doesn’t swipe,’ Lazarus murmurs. The cashier types the card code, and Lazarus signs for the groceries. This is the second time today she’s gone through this routine with a store clerk; the morning found her at La Marqueta, where onions were cheaper and the payment process just as awkward. As she pulls out of the parking lot, her 14-year-old Dodge Caravan shrieks. Just a belt or something worse? She’s not sure. It’s too expensive to repair right now anyway…”