Category Archives: Unemployment

Displaced Workers and Their Search for Support in a Broken Bureaucracy

Source: Steven D. Schwinn, Clearinghouse Review Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, Vol. 42, p. 107, July-August 2008

From the abstract:
The federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs provide cash benefits and job retraining to workers and farmers who have been displaced by the off-shoring of U.S. jobs, falling prices resulting from increased imports, and other consequences of international trade. But workers and farmers have been seriously hampered in their attempts to gain TAA benefits by persistent and pervasive mismanagement of the TAA programs by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This article describes some of the problems that workers and farmers have faced in applying for and receiving TAA benefits. While legislative changes may address some of these problems, the article argues that legal counsel for workers and farmers is a necessary component of any plan to ensure that TAA benefits reach those they were designed to help.

Solvency Recommendations for Ohio

Source: Wayne Vroman, Tax Policy Center, July 28, 2008

From the summary:
This report examines the funding of unemployment insurance (UI) in Ohio. It proposes seven recommendations to improve program solvency, both in the short run and in the long run. The two main recommendations to improve short-run solvency are to: 1) implement a substantial increase in the taxable wage base and 2) institute a temporary freeze in weekly benefits, both recommendations to be effective in 2009. Indexation of the taxable wage base is a principal recommendation to improve solvency in the long-run.

Unemployment Insurance Financing: Examining State Trust Funds Facing Recession

Source: Rick McHugh and Andrew Stettner, National Employment Law Project, Briefing Paper, May 2008

As state UI trust funds face a looming economic downturn, NELP has released a briefing paper today that looks at overall UI financing as well as giving a state-by-state breakdown of current trust fund reserves compared with common UI solvency measures. “Unemployment Insurance Financing: Examining State Trust Funds Facing Recession” looks at the current status of state trust funds and examines the question of why states are less solvent in 2008 than they were prior to the 2001 recession. NELP also describes policies that states should adopt to strengthen their UI financing mechanisms so that UI programs can better assist both jobless workers and a state’s economy during recessions.

Included in the paper are explanations of how UI solvency is measured, comparisons of current state solvency status with each state’s solvency situation prior to the 2001 recession, and findings that 21 states have adequately solvent trust funds while as many as 18 states face serious solvency challenges in an upcoming recession. Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Ohio are the states with the nation’s lowest UI trust fund solvency at this time.

A Recessionary Job Market

Source: Jared Bernstein with research assistance from James Lin, Economic Policy Institute, Jobs Picture, March 7, 2008

In what is the most recessionary jobs report since the last official downturn in 2001, payrolls fell 63,000 last month and were down 101,000 in the private sector, according to today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment actually ticked down slightly, from 4.9% to 4.8%, but this was wholly due to labor force withdrawal. Employment in the more volatile survey of households–the one from which the unemployment rate is drawn–fell over 250,000.

Americans Worried About Their Standard of Living
Source: Dennis Jacobe, Gallup, February 22, 2008

Ohio’s Job Losses: 2000 to 2007 Worst Losses Since the Depression

Source: Dr. Charles W. McMillion, MBG Information Services, February 2008

According to the US Department of Labor, Ohio had -209,400 fewer nonfarm jobs in December

2007 than it had in December 2000. This loss of -3.7% of Ohio’s jobs is the worst seven-year loss in state records that begin in 1939 as the Great Depression was ending. The previous seven-year job loss record was the period ending in 2006 (-3.6% of jobs lost) and before that the record was held for the period ending in 1962 when -3.4% of jobs were lost in the demobilization after the Korean War.

Nine of the state’s thirteen metropolitan areas suffered recent job losses more severe even than Ohio’s statewide losses. Most devastated is the Springfield area, losing -10.0% of its jobs over the last seven years. The other areas with job losses worse than statewide include Canton -8.6% job loss, Dayton -7.6%, Mansfield -6.5%, Youngstown -6.3%, Lima -5.7%, Cleveland -5.5%, Toledo -5.0% and Steubenville-Weirton, OH/WV -3.8%.

Federal Jobless Benefits Will Stimulate the Economy While Helping Over Three Million Jobless Families Who Will Run Out of State Benefits This Year

Source: Maurice Emsellem and Omar Semidey, National Employment Law Project, February 12, 2008

Working families are bracing for major layoffs amid growing signs that the nation may be heading toward a serious recession. Despite their compelling concerns and strong evidence that federal jobless benefits will immediately stimulate the economy, the U.S. Senate recently came one vote short of the 60 votes needed to pass an economic stimulus package (Economic Stimulus Act of 2008) that included a 13-week federal extension of unemployment benefits. That leaves an estimated three million workers without any additional federal support when they run out of their 26 weeks of state jobless benefits this year.

Now, the attention shifts to Congressional efforts to promptly enact separate legislation to extend federal jobless benefits to help boost the economy. This paper makes the case for an immediate extension of jobless benefits and federal reforms to modernize the unemployment insurance program. It provides new state estimates of the number of workers who will exhaust their state unemployment benefits this year as well as a rebuttal to the argument of Bush Administration officials that unemployment has not reached high enough levels compared to prior recessions to justify an extension of jobless benefits. Underscoring the harshness of the downturn on long-established workers and the consequences of inaction by Congress for moderate-income families, the paper also finds that the unemployed include a disproportionately large number of older workers who are looking for work for longer periods of time in today’s struggling economy.

Employment Numbers as Recession Indicators

Source: U.S House of Representatives, Joint Economic Committee (Republicans), January 2008

This paper investigates the value of employment data as real-time recession indicators. Among popular monthly labor measures, the unemployment rate is the most useful as an indicator of recession, whereas two top measures of employment growth -payroll jobs and civilian employment -have little value. Two other series, the labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio, also provide little or no value in anticipating a recession. The best pre-recession employment indicator is actually weekly claims for unemployment insurance (UI). The paper reviews a new technique for predicting recessions, and develops an employment recession probability index. The index indicates a 35.5 percent chance that the U.S. economy is in recession, sharply up from 10 percent last month.

What A Recession Means For Black America

Source: Algernon Austin, Economic Policy Institute, EPI Issue Brief #241, January 18, 2008

Recessions hurt. And they hurt the poor and socially marginalized populations the most. As we face the prospect of the second recession of the decade and consider the merits of various stimulus packages, it is useful to examine what a recession would mean for black America.

The late 1990s produced a full employment economy and significant absolute and relative economic gains for blacks. This Issue Brief contrasts the benefits of a national full-employment economy with the harm caused by the 2001 recession and the weak job growth that followed.