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An 8.5% unemployment rate is unmistakably bad. It's the highest rate since 1983 -- a year that saw double-digit unemployment, nearly 30 commercial bank failures and more than 15% of Americans living below the poverty line.
But the real national unemployment rate is far worse than the U.S. Department of Labor's March figure, announced today, shows. That's because the official rate doesn't include the 3.7 million-plus people who are reluctantly working only part time because of the poor labor market. And it doesn't include the workers who have given up scouring want ads for seemingly nonexistent jobs.
When those folks are added to the numbers, the unemployment rate rises to 15.6%. In March 2008, that number was 9.3%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking this alternative measure (.pdf file) in 1995.
Full Article Here
Hundreds of Thousands of Unemployed Run Out of Benefits
In the coming weeks and months, hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans will exhaust their unemployment benefits, just when it’s never been harder to find a job.
Congress extended unemployment aid twice last year, allowing people to draw a total of up to 59 weeks of benefits. Now, as the recession drags on, a rolling wave of people who were laid off early last year will lose them.
Precise figures are hard to determine, but Wayne Vroman, an economist at the Urban Institute, estimates that up to 700,000 people could exhaust their extended benefits by the second half of this year.
Layoffs are projected to go on, and many economists expect the jobless rate, already at 8.5 percent, to hit 10 percent by year’s end.
States typically provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, an average of about $350 a week.
Last year, Congress tacked on 20 extra weeks of benefits, and later it added 13 additional weeks for people in states hardest-hit by unemployment.
Unemployment has risen so high that in some states a third leg of benefits is kicking in — a new lifeline for many who would otherwise run out. Under federal law, states found to have particularly high unemployment under complex formulas must provide 13 to 20 more weeks[ of benefits.
It has already taken effect in 18 states, twice as many as activated it in either of the last two recessions.
The National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers, wants more states to change their laws to make it easier for the extended benefits to kick in.
The federal stimulus package provides full federal funding for the extension, ...
April 7, 2009 by republicbroadcasting.org...