February 2017 US Unemployment Rate

  • U.S. added 235,000 jobs in February; unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent, By Ana Swanson, March 10, 2017, Washington Post: “The U.S. economy added a healthy 235,000 jobs in February, according to government data released Friday morning, surpassing economists’ expectations and likely clearing the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.7 percent, compared with 4.8 percent in January, and wages rose by 6 cents to $26.09 in February, after a 5-cent increase the month before…”
  • U.S. gains a healthy 235,000 jobs in February; unemployment rate falls to 4.7%, By Don Lee, March 10, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “Warm weather and rising business optimism helped the U.S. economy to create another burst of job growth last month, giving President Trump an early confidence boost and all but assuring that the Federal Reserve will nudge up interest rates next week.  Employers added 235,000 jobs in February, about as many as in January and well above analysts’ expectations and the average monthly payroll growth for all of last year, the Labor Department said Friday…”

Unemployment Benefit Programs – Missouri, Ohio

  • Missouri lawmakers vote to slash unemployment benefits, By Austin Huguelet, February 23, 2017, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The Missouri House on Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to a plan that would cut the amount of time people can claim jobless benefits to one of the shortest periods in the country…”
  • Unemployment fraud still costing state millions, By Cornelius Frolik, February 21, 2017, Dayton Daily News: “Ohio has significantly reduced fraudulent overpayments to people collecting unemployment insurance since instituting measures designed to identify and recover money from benefit cheats…”

The US Structurally Unemployed

The new face of American unemployment, By Jeanna Smialek and Patricia Laya, February 7, 2017, Bloomberg: “Even at so-called full employment, some 20 million Americans are left behind.  They’re looking for work, out of the labor force but unhappy about it, or report working part-time when they’d prefer more hours, according to data released last week. Their plight comes even as the U.S. flirts with what economists consider the maximum level of employment for the first time since before the recession, having added 15.8 million jobs since the start of 2010. While some of America’s jobless are simply between gigs, those persistently stuck out of work are called the structurally unemployed…”

January 2017 US Unemployment Rate

U.S. starts year with job surge, but pay gains are weak, By Patricia Cohen, February 3, 2017, New York Times: “Job growth was quick out of the gate in the new year, the government reported on Friday, as employers added a healthy 227,000 workers to their payrolls in January. But despite a surge of local minimum-wage increases in states across the country, wage growth was meager.  The official jobless rate rose slightly, to 4.8 percent, but for good cause: More people were lured back into the work force…”

December 2016 US Unemployment Rate

U.S. economy creates a modest 156,000 jobs in December, By Don Lee, January 6, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “Job growth slowed at the end of last year while the unemployment rate ticked higher — signs that the tight labor market is resulting in diminished hiring even as it is pushing wages higher. The U.S. economy added 156,000 net new jobs last month, down from an upwardly revised 204,000 created in November, the Labor Department said Friday…”

Basic Income – Finland

Finland trials basic income for unemployed, By Jon Henley, January 3, 2017, The Guardian: “Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens an unconditional monthly sum, in a social experiment that will be watched around the world amid gathering interest in the idea of a universal basic income.  Under the two-year, nationwide pilot scheme, which began on 1 January, 2,000 unemployed Finns aged 25 to 58 will receive a guaranteed sum of €560 (£475). The income will replace their existing social benefits and will be paid even if they find work…”

Unemployment System – Ohio

No fix this year for troubled unemployment system, By Jessie Balmert, December 7, 2016, Cincinnati Enquirer: “Ohio lawmakers won’t overhaul the state’s troubled unemployment system – at least not until April, they say.  After days of furious negotiating, lawmakers, business and union leaders came up short of a comprehensive fix that would please both the people who receive unemployment benefits and the employers who pay for them. Instead, lawmakers said Tuesday, they plan to freeze unemployment benefits for 2018 and 2019. Employers currently pay taxes on their employees’ annual wages up to $9,000, and lawmakers plan to increase that to $9,500. The national average is $13,407…”

November 2016 US Unemployment Rate

U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November; unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent, By Ana Swanson, December 2, 2016, Washington Post: “The U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, a level not seen since August 2007, according to government data released Friday morning. The first employment report since voters went to the polls last month shows an economy in strong shape as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office…”

October 2016 US Unemployment Rate

Final jobs report before election shows promising wage growth, By Don Lee, November 4, 2016, Los Angeles Times: “The last monthly jobs report before Tuesday’s presidential election offered some encouraging news for workers: Job growth remains steady and pay is rising at a faster rate.  Employers in October added 161,000 jobs, a little less than analysts’ average forecast but still a solid pace consistent with a healthy labor market. That’s more than enough to absorb new entrants to the workforce and keep the jobless rate from rising…”

US Unemployment Claims

U.S. unemployment claims at lowest level since 1973, October 13, 2016, Denver Post: “The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits held at a four-decade low last week, a sign employers are holding on to workers as the labor market tightens.  Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, were unchanged at 246,000 in the week ended Oct. 8, the Labor Department said Thursday. The latest two weeks registered at the lowest level since November 1973…”

Unemployment Benefits – North Carolina

$2 billion in trust for jobless benefits. Is it time to increase unemployment checks?, By Richard Craver, October 6, 2016, Winston-Salem Journal: “North Carolina has more than $2 billion in its trust fund to pay unemployment benefits, a level close to what federal guidelines suggest for reserves.  State Division of Employment Security officials told legislators Wednesday the amount should be enough for the agency to handle the payout demands of the next recession without having to borrow again from the federal government.  However, some unemployment advocacy groups say the trust fund should be doubled to at least $4.2 billion before state officials should be secure with the amount…”

Youth Unemployment – Chicago, IL

Chicago tackles youth unemployment as it wrestles with its consequences, By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, September 1, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “Margo Strotter, who runs a busy sandwich shop in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, makes it a point to hire people with ‘blemishes.’  But young people? She sighs and shakes her head.  They often lack ‘the fundamental stuff’ — arriving on time, ironing their shirts, communicating well, taking direction — she said. She doesn’t have time to train workers in the basics, and worries she’s not alone.  ‘We are going to wind up with a whole group of people in their 40s and 50s who can’t function,’ said Strotter, owner of Ain’t She Sweet Cafe.  As Chicago tackles what some have termed a crisis of youth joblessness, it must reckon with the consequences of a failure to invest in its low-income neighborhoods and the people who live there. There aren’t enough jobs, and the young people vying for them are frequently woefully unprepared because of gaps in their schooling and upbringing. The system has pushed them to the back of the hiring line…”

June 2016 State Unemployment Rates

18 states see significant job gains, but unemployment rises, By Josh Boak (AP), July 22, 2016, Albany Times Union: “Unemployment rates ticked up noticeably in six states in June, even as employers continued to add jobs and the hiring outlook improved. The unemployment rate in 21 states is now significantly below the national figure of 4.9 percent, while it’s higher in 14 states…”

Unemployment Insurance – North Carolina

North Carolina ranks among top-five worst states for the jobless, By Richard Craver, June 20, 2016, Winston Salem-Journal: “North Carolina’s inclusion among the five worst states for unemployment insurance beneficiaries may be a source of shame or pride, depending on the value placed upon the drastic cuts that went into effect in July 2013. The state was ranked 46th by research firm 24/7 Wall St. in a report released June 11. Louisiana is listed as the worst state, followed by Alabama, Mississippi and Alaska. In a report released Thursday, North Carolina ranked 49th in terms of what percentage of UI applicants receive benefits at 12.4 percent for 2015. That study comes from the Center for American Progress, Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, and National Employment Law Project…”

Internet Access and Unemployment – Detroit, MI

Unemployed Detroit residents are trapped by a digital divide, By Cecilia Kang, May 22, 2016, New York Times: “In downtown Detroit, start-ups and luxury retailers are opening up and new office buildings are being built as the city works to recover from its deep economic problems. Six miles to the north, in the neighborhood of Hope Village, residents like Eric Hill are trying to participate in that progress but are running into hurdles. His difficulties were apparent on a recent Tuesday when he entered a crowded public library to use the computers to look for a new job. With no Internet service at home or on his mobile phone, Mr. Hill had few options to search work listings or file online job applications after losing his stocking job at a pharmacy five months ago…”

Multidimensional Poverty

Poverty, compounded, By Gillian B. White, April 16, 2016, The Atlantic: “It’s true that poverty affects people of all races, genders, and nationalities, but it’s also true that poverty—especially deep, persistent, intergenerational poverty—plagues some groups more than others. That’s because poverty isn’t just a matter of making too little money to pay the bills or living in a bad neighborhood—it’s about a series of circumstances and challenges that build upon each other, making it difficult to create stability and build wealth…”

State Unemployment Benefits

States reduce jobless checks, adding pressure to unemployed, Associated Press, February 29, 2016, CNBC: “When Demetrius White recently lost his job as a $10-an-hour forklift driver loading pallets of shampoo, he applied for unemployment benefits to help support his family. That aid will not last as long as it once did, because White is among the first group of people affected by a new Missouri law reducing the duration of jobless benefits. His $200-a-week checks will last no more than three months – just half as long as what has typically been available…”

Black Unemployment

Unemployment may be dropping, but it’s still twice as high for blacks, By Sonari Glinton, February 5, 2016, National Public Radio: “The jobs numbers are in: 150,000 jobs were added to the economy in January. That’s fewer than expected, though the unemployment rate fell to an eight-year low.  President Obama took the opportunity this morning to take a shot at some of his more vocal opponents…”

January 2016 Unemployment Rate

Wages rise as U.S. unemployment rate falls below 5%, By Nelson D. Schwartz, February 5, 2016, New York Times: “Is the American worker finally getting a raise?  After years of scant real gains despite steadily falling unemployment and healthy hiring, wages picked up significantly last month, a sign the job market could be tightening enough to force companies to pay more to attract and retain employees.  The half a percentage point increase in average hourly earnings in January was the brightest spot in a generally positive Labor Department report on Friday, which showed job creation slowing from the white-hot pace of late 2015 even as the unemployment rate fell to an eight-year low of 4.9 percent…”

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…”