Unemployment Extensions End (Thanks, Congress)

Congress, however, has no problem with its extremities; it is its heart that has been frozen.  From what I’ve been reading, it appears that our elected representatives feel no sense of urgency in this matter, as employment has been increasing nationally.  In November, unemployment decreased from October in 45 states, falling 7% nationally.  Here in the West, however, we continue to deal with the highest regional unemployment rate in the nation.  Ironically, California was the exception, with the greatest drop in unemployment in the whole country.

The worst increase in unemployment was in Ohio, where 12,000 joined the ranks of the jobless last month.

But you know what they say about statistics — it’s a primer in how to lie with numbers.

For one thing, I have to wonder how many of the lucky people who found jobs in November were signing on for seasonal work?  You know, employers beefing up the staffs of discount and department stores for the holidays, hiring bodies to load and unload trucks in warehouses, bringing on bell ringers and sign wavers?

I think about my nephew, who was one of those warehouse workers until he was laid off a few days ago.  Christmas is over, don’t you know.

And what do the unemployment numbers really tell us?  How many people are on the unemployment rolls — in other words, how many have open claims and are still receiving unemployment checks.  What about the hundreds of thousands who have already run through all available federal extensions?  Federal and state agencies refer to those who have been out of work for more than six months as “the long-term unemployed.”  But what about those who were laid off back in 2012 or earlier? Many of them are still out of work, but are not counted in unemployment numbers because they are no longer eligible to draw benefits.  These are the unseen unemployed, the invisible ones.  It is no surprise that many who fall into this category have become discouraged, depressed and have given up looking for work altogether.

But, hey, look on the bright side.  Eliminating these slackers from our unemployment figures makes the American economy look ripe for investment in the eyes of world markets.  And the news is about to get even better.  As of last Saturday, we have 1.2 million fewer on the unemployment rolls!  Imagine that!

I think the solution to all our unemployment problems is totally obvious.  Simply cancel all unemployment benefits of every kind, both state and federal.  Then our unemployment rate throughout the nation will be . . . (drum roll, please) zero!

Who says full employment is just a pipe dream?

 

References

Fox, Emily Jane, “Unemployment Benefits for 1.3 Million Expire,” CNN Money, December 29, 2013. http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/27/news/economy/unemployment-benefits-expire/

Lauter, David, “Q & A:  Why Unemployment Benefits Expire for 1.3 Million,” Politics Now, Los Angeles Times (December 27, 2013).  http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-q-and-a-unemployment-benefits-20131227,0,1111524.story#axzz2p1oXeJcn

Lowrey, Annie, “Benefits Ending for One Million Unemployed,” New York Times (December 27, 2013).  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/28/us/benefits-ending-for-one-million-of-unemployed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Plumer, Brad, “Unemployment for 1.3 Million Expire Saturday.  Here’s Why,” Wonkblog, Washington Post (December 23, 2013).  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/20/unemployment-benefits-for-1-3-million-workers-expire-next-week-heres-what-you-should-know/

 

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