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…”

Employment Gender Gap in Poor Neighborhoods

The striking power of poverty to turn young boys into jobless men, By Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham, January 29, 2016, Washington Post: “Men are more likely to work than women. This has been true in the United States for generations and for entrenched reasons that have to do with ‘family values’ and workplace policies. It’s true because the culture says women should care for their children and because paying for child care is expensive. And it’s true because of discrimination.  The durability of that pattern makes a recent finding by economists at Harvard and Stanford universities all the more puzzling: Among the poor, the opposite is now true. Girls who grow up in poor families are more likely than the boys who grow up with them to work as adults…”

Long-Term Unemployment

Over 50, female and jobless even as others return to work, By Patricia Cohen, January 1, 2016, New York Times: “The latest signs of an improving economy were good enough to help persuade the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. But the better job market is not good enough to land Chettie McAfee a job.  Laid off at the start of the recession from the diagnostic testing firm in Seattle where she spent more than three decades, Ms. McAfee, 58, has not worked since 2007. ‘I’ve been applying and applying and applying,’ said Ms. McAfee, who has relied on her savings and family to get by as she fights off attempts to foreclose on her home. At interviews, she said, ‘They ask, ‘Why has it been so long?’’   At 5 percent, the jobless rate may be close to what economists consider full employment, but that headline figure doesn’t capture the challenges still facing millions of Americans who have yet to regain their footing in the workplace…”

November 2015 State Unemployment

Unemployment rates fall in 27 US states amid broad hiring, By Christopher S. Rugaber (AP), December 18, 2015, ABC News: “Unemployment rates fell in more than half of U.S. states in November as employers stepped up hiring.  The Labor Department said Friday that jobless rates fell in 27 states, rose in 11, and were unchanged in 12 states. Employers added jobs in 35 states, while employment fell in 14. Montana’s job total was flat last month…”

State Unemployment Rates

  • Unemployment rates fall in two-thirds of US states, Associated Press, November 20, 2015, New York Times: “Unemployment rates fell in 32 U.S. states last month as employers nationwide added the most jobs of any month this year. Jobless rates rose in just three states in October and were unchanged in 15. The unemployment rate has tumbled below 4.5 percent in 21 states, including Texas, Colorado, and Virginia. That’s a historically low level that may help push up pay in the coming months…”
  • Payrolls increase in 40 states in October, led by California, By Victoria Stilwell, November 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune: “Payrolls rose in 40 states and the unemployment rate fell in 32 as the U.S. labor market powered ahead in October. California led the nation with a 41,200 increase in employment, followed by a 35,200 advance in Florida, figures from the Labor Department showed Friday in Washington…”

October 2015 Unemployment Rate

Economy adds a surprising 271,000 jobs; unemployment rate falls to 5%, By Don Lee, November 6, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “An unexpected surge of hiring last month accompanied by strong wage gains suggests that the U.S. labor market remains solid and increases the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will make its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade next month.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that employers across a broad spectrum of industries added a net 271,000 new jobs in October. That is far more than most analysts’ forecast of about 180,000 jobs, and a sharp acceleration from revised payroll gains of 137,000 in September and 153,000 in August…”

Unemployment Benefits – Missouri

Fight brewing over Missouri cutting jobless benefits, By Jason Hancock, October 4, 2015, Kansas City Star: “It took six years for Missouri’s unemployment rate to return to pre-recession levels, finally dropping below 6 percent last summer. It has remained there ever since. Under a bill passed recently by lawmakers over the objections of the governor, a jobless rate that low will mean a dramatic reduction in how long out-of-work Missourians can receive unemployment benefits. The new law is supposed to go into effect in January. Whether it will isn’t clear. Legal wrangling may delay or even completely derail its implementation…”

September 2015 US Unemployment Rate

Jobs report is lackluster, raising concern on economy’s course, By Patricia Cohen, October 2, 2015, New York Times: “Employers added a mere 142,000 jobs in September, the government said Friday, casting a shadow on the nation’s economy in a Labor Department report that analysts variously described as ‘dreadful,’ ‘a body blow’ and ‘grim.’ Adding to the gloom, the agency revised August’s employment numbers sharply downward, showing that only 136,000 jobs were created that month, well below the 173,000 originally estimated. The two consecutive weak reports pointed to a loss of momentum for the American economy over the summer…”

Unemployment Benefits – Florida

Florida’s unemployment benefits ‘virtually inaccessible,’ study finds, By Marcia Heroux Pounds, September 22, 2015, Sun Sentinel: “Fewer than one in eight unemployed workers in Florida receives jobless benefits, the result of a burdensome system that is “virtually inaccessible” for the average person out of work, a new report concludes. Florida, more than nearly any other state, has made it more difficult for laid-off workers to apply and qualify for unemployment benefits, the National Employment Law Project, an advocate for the unemployed, said in a report Tuesday…”

Unemployment Benefits – Missouri

Missouri lawmakers cut jobless benefits, limit minimum wages, By David A. Lieb, September 17, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature put a conservative stamp on state employment laws Wednesday, voting to cut unemployment benefits to one of the shortest periods nationally while also outlawing local minimum wage increases…”

August 2015 US Unemployment Rate

  • Employers added 173,000 jobs in Aug., jobless rates falls to 5.1%,  By Paul Davidson, September 4, 2015, USA Today: “Payroll growth slowed in August as employers added 173,000 jobs in a key report that could help the Federal Reserve decide whether to raise interest rates later this month. The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a separate survey of households, fell from 5.3% to 5.1%, lowest since March 2008. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected employment gains of 218,000, according to their median forecast…”
  • Unemployment rate dips to 5.1 percent amid 173,000 new jobs in August, By Scott Neuman, September 4, 2015, National Public Radio: “The Labor Department says the U.S. economy added 173,000 jobs in August, a figure that fell short of expectations but nonetheless appeared to shrug off turmoil in overseas markets, particularly China. In a separate survey, the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the unemployment rate had dipped to 5.1 percent — a seven-year low.  Many economists had forecast 220,000 new jobs in August, an increase over the 215,000 jobs added the month before. July’s tally was revised upward to 245,000 jobs, while June’s figure was revised to 245,000 from 231,000…”

Unemployment Benefits – Nebraska

Stricter state benefits requirements may soon call for jobless to make 5 contacts a week with employers, By Paul Hammel, August 6, 2015, Omaha World-Herald: “The state’s plan to hasten the transition from unemployment to ‘re-employment’ is getting mixed reviews. Under proposed changes to the state’s ‘work search’ requirements, Nebraskans on unemployment would be required to make five contacts a week with potential employers, up from the current two a week. If they remain on unemployment, such workers would have to eventually increase the number of days devoted to searching for a new job from one day a week to three or four days a week…”

Disability and Poverty

Why disability and poverty still go hand in hand 25 years after landmark law, By Pam Fessler, July 23, 2015, National Public Radio: “If you have a disability in the U.S., you’re twice as likely to be poor as someone without a disability. You’re also far more likely to be unemployed. And that gap has widened in the 25 years since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted.  ‘Every man, woman and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence and freedom,’ President George H.W. Bush said when he signed the bill into law on July 26, 1990.  The ADA banned discrimination based on disability and was intended to ensure equal opportunity in employment — as well as government services and public accommodations, commercial facilities and public transportation.  But it hasn’t always worked that way, especially when it comes to expanding economic opportunity for the 58 million Americans with physical and mental disabilities…”

Veteran Homelessness and Unemployment

An end to jobless vets? New VA job program raises hopes, By Gretel Kauffman, June 28, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “The US Department of Veteran Affairs has launched a new program which offers individualized assistance to the roughly 50,000 unemployed veterans living on the street. Through the Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services program, more than 150 community employment coordinators (CECs) will help veterans at VA locations across the country by identifying those who are job-ready and establishing relationships with community employers who may be able to find them jobs. The coordinators will also connect veterans with resources to help them succeed in their jobs once they find employment…”

State Unemployment Rates

Unemployment rates rose in half of US states last month, By Christopher S. Rugaber, June 19, 2015, Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “Unemployment rates rose in 25 U.S. states last month, driven higher in many cases by more people who began looking for work but didn’t immediately find jobs. Rates fell in 9 states and Washington, D.C., and were unchanged in 16 states, the Labor Department said Friday…”

Unemployment Insurance Debt – South Carolina

South Carolina pays off $1B unemployment debt to federal government, By Seanna Adcox (AP), June 11, 2015, Post and Courier: “South Carolina’s unemployment agency has paid off its nearly $1 billion debt to the federal government, five months ahead of schedule. Gov. Nikki Haley announced that the Department of Employment and Workforce made a final payment Thursday of $120 million. Early payments over the past four years have collectively saved businesses nearly $13 million in interest, while also reducing their insurance taxes…”