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…”

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…”