Category Archives: Unemployment

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.

States Hard Hit By Rising Unemployment and End of Federal Jobless Benefits: Nearly 800,000 Workers Left Without Assistance Soon After Congress Recesses

Source: National Employment Law Project, September 19, 2008

The economy took a serious turn for the worse in August, when the unemployment rate reached a five-year high of 6.1 percent and nearly 9.4 million Americans were officially counted as unemployed and still actively looking for work. Just since the federal program of extended jobless benefits was enacted in June, nearly 900,000 more workers are struggling to find jobs in a rapidly declining economy. At the same time, twice as many states are experiencing especially high levels of unemployment, with nearly a dozen states now exceeding 6.5 percent unemployment.

Large number of states, especially in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri), the South (Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina), and the West (California, Nevada) now have unemployment rates that compare to the peak they reached during the extended 1990s recession (when the unemployment rate was 7.8%). Northeastern states, including Rhode Island and Connecticut, are also experiencing record rates of joblessness. Compared to when the situation when the extension of unemployment benefits passed in June, there are now triple the number of states with unemployment over 6% (averaged over three months) and six times as many states with unemployment rates over 6.5%.
See also:
BLS Report

The Unemployment Trend by State

Source: Emily Garr, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, September 24, 2008

The national unemployment rate has risen to a five-year high of 6.1%, and many states are experiencing rates as high as 8.9%. This week’s Economic Snapshot features an interactive map showing the unemployment rate of each state in August, as well as the employment gains and losses incurred by each state since the economic downturn began in December 2007.

Expanding State Education and Training By Partnering with the Unemployment Insurance System

Source: David Jason Fischer, National Employment Law Project, September 2008

NELP released a new report today which profiles several of the most innovative state education and training programs in the nation that are funded by payroll contributions. More than half the states in the U.S. now operate such programs, often in partnership with the unemployment insurance system.

By featuring a diverse range of the most successful programs (from California, Minnesota, New Jersey and Maine), the report provides helpful insights for those states looking to adopt new education and training initiatives or to improve upon existing programs. As described in the report, these programs go a long way to supplement (or in some cases exceed) state training funds provided by the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA), thus providing the states with the resources and flexibility to expand state training priorities.

Got work?

Source: Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, September 17, 2008

Since December 2006, the number of job seekers per job opening available has skyrocketed more than 60%. The number of job seekers per job opening is now firmly in recessionary territory–at a higher level than during any month of the official 2001 recession–and it shows no signs of leveling off. This week’s Economic Snapshot and a companion Issue Brief look at current job openings trends, an important counterpart to the more commonly cited measures of unemployment.