Category Archives: Unemployment

Global Employment Trends

Source: International Labour Organization, January 2009

The global financial crisis has triggered a serious slowdown in world economic growth including recession in the largest industrialized countries. Enterprises have stopped hiring and many are laying off workers in considerable numbers. This report examines what we know already about the impact of the crisis on jobs and what we could expect from several possible scenarios of the way it might evolve in the year ahead.

The assessment in this issue of Global Employment Trends is based on an analysis of labour market data that are available to date. This is still limited for the majority of countries and as more information becomes available it will be important to review the scale and pace of trends. Alternative scenarios for selected labour market indicators in 2008 and 2009 illustrate what might happen in labour markets if currently available economic forecasts are further revised downwards as seems likely.

This report starts with an overview of economic events that are shaping labour market outcomes. Thereafter, an analysis of recent labour market developments is presented based on currently available information. A separate section is dedicated to the projections of labour market indicators for 2008 and 2009. A final section concludes, and highlights a number of policy considerations.

Squeezed! Caught between Unemployment Benefts And Health Care Costs

Source: FamiliesUSA, January 2009

From the press release:
A report issued on the same day that the government released its latest unemployment data shows why most laid-off people are likely to lose their health coverage: The average national premium costs for family COBRA coverage consume almost 84 percent of average unemployment benefits.

The report, issued by the consumer health organization Families USA, focuses on the unaffordability of COBRA coverage, which allows laid-off workers to retain their employer-based insurance if those laid-off workers pay the full cost of that coverage.

The average unemployment insurance (UI) benefit varies substantially from state to state, as do average COBRA premiums. According to the report:

    * On average, nationally, UI monthly benefits are $1,278, while COBRA monthly premiums for family coverage are $1,069, or 83.6 percent of UI benefits.

    * In 41 states (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IO, KS, LA, ME, MD, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WV, WI, and WY) plus the District of Columbia, COBRA family coverage premiums, on average, consume more than three-fourths of average UI benefits.

    * In nine of those states (AL, AK, AZ, DE, FL, LA, MS, SC, and WV), the average COBRA premiums equal or exceed average UI benefits.

    * In 17 states (AL, AK, AZ, DE, FL, LA, ME, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, SC, SD, TN, WV, and WI) plus the District of Columbia, COBRA premiums for single coverage of workers consume, on average, more than one-third of UI income.
See also:
Key findings
Related story:
Unemployed Workers Need Assistance Paying for Health Insurance; Only About One of Ten Obtain COBRA Coverage
Source: Commonwealth Fund, January 23, 2009

Recession and Recovery: Facts and Forecasts

Source: Urban Institute, December 22, 2008

Six new briefs from the nonpartisan Urban Institute show how Americans have fared during and after downturns since the 1970s, what might be ahead, and how government programs aid those in distress.

No. 1 in the series, Unemployment and Income in a Recession
This brief assesses how unemployment and household income changes as the economy moves through a recession and into recovery.

No. 2 in the series, Unemployment Insurance during a Recession
This brief examines how the Unemployment Insurance program responds during a recession and how that response may differ in the current recession from its response in the past.

No. 3 in the series, The Role of Welfare during a Recession
This brief examines how the TANF program (formerly AFDC) responds during a recession and how that response may differ in the current recession from its response in the past.

No. 4 in the series, SNAP and the Recession
This brief examines how the SNAP program (formerly food stamps) responds during a recession and how that response may differ in the current recession from its response in the past.

No. 5 in the series, The Recession and the Earned Income Tax Credit
This brief assesses the extent to which the Earned Income Tax Credit can help families hit by job losses and falling incomes during a recession.

No. 6 in the series, Health Coverage in a Recession
This brief examines how the Medicaid and SCHIP programs respond during a recession and how that response may differ in the current recession from their responses in the past. It also assesses the extent to which health insurance coverage may decline as unemployment rises.

Will Workers Survive State Budget Belt-Tightening?

Source: Matthew Sherman, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Issue Brief, December 2008

As state governments face budget gaps of tens of billions of dollars in FY2009 and FY2010, this issue brief calculates the potential detrimental effects of state budget cuts on unemployment. While Congress considers a national economic recovery package, this issue brief highlights the fact that aid to state and local governments could help avoid spending cuts and ensuing job losses.

Helping the Jobless Helps Us All – The Central Role of Unemployment Insurance in America’s Economic Recovery

Source: Maurice Emsellem, Andrew Stettner, Lisa Donner, Alexandra Cawthorne, Center for American Progress and National Employment Law Project, November 14, 2008

From the introduction:
Immediate action and fundamental reform are needed if the unemployment insurance system is to work as intended. This report will detail the critical role that the unemployment insurance program can and should play in helping our country cope with a likely deep and prolonged recession. An unemployment rate of 6.5 percent in October, a 14-year high, means that more people are collecting unemployment benefits than at any time in the past 25 years, yet economists estimate unemployment could rise to eight percent or more in the coming year. This is sure to strain the unemployment insurance program as never before.

Unemployment Rate Reaches Highest Level In Over 14 Years

Source: Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute, Jobs Picture, November 7, 2008

Payroll employment declined for the 10th month in a row, dropping by another 240,000 in October alone, according to today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, data revisions show that an additional 179,000 jobs were lost in previous months than initially reported. That brings the total number of job losses to 651,000 in the last three months and 1.2 million since December 2007…. Over the past 18 months, 3.3 million workers have been added to the jobless rolls, and there are currently 10.1 million unemployed workers in this country. The unemployment rate rose from 6.1% in September to 6.5% in October, its highest rate since March 1994. Underemployment, a more comprehensive measure of the extent of labor market weakness, rose to 11.8%, its highest level in over 14 years. Underemployment’s growth is primarily due to a surge in people working part-time but wanting full-time jobs–up 645,000 from September to October, and by 2.3 million over the past year.

Jobs Decline For Ninth Month In A Row

Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute, Jobs Picture, October 3, 2008

The nation’s employers continue to cut payrolls, with jobs down by 159,000 in September, the ninth consecutive month of job losses. In every period since 1948 when payrolls have declined this consistently, the economy has been in an official recession. For in-depth analysis, see EPI’s Jobs Picture.

Unemployment Insurance and Older Workers in the United States

Source: Charlotte Muller and Oleg Volkov, International Longevity Center, Issue Brief, June 2008

From the summary:
People are living longer and healthier lives at the same time that layoffs are increasing and pension plans are being curtailed. As the era of longevity progresses, unemployment among older Americans is likely to be a growing problem. In addition to the traditional male workforce, a larger number of older women will have had substantially more work experience than was historically true. Among women without spousal support (the single, widowed, and divorced), many will find that they must remain employed if they are to meet their financial needs.