All Articles Tagged "joblessness"
Merry Christmas? Unemployment Benefits Could Cease For 2 Million on December 1, Blacks Would Be Hard Hit
According to new reports, two million people could lose unemployment benefits right before Christmas unless Congress extends the benefits program. And African Americans, who have among the still have the highest unemployment rates, will most likely be the hardest hit. Even though unemployment figures for African Americans have improved, 13.4 percent of black workers, or 2.44 million people, remain out of work, according to the Huffington Post. And in New York, black women are the hardest hit.
According to the nonprofit Community Service Society of New York, older women and black workers remained unemployed longest. “Nearly 63 percent of women 55 to 65 were out of work for more than six months last year… Black New Yorkers remained unemployed for an average 47 weeks, more than any other ethnic group,” reports the Uptowner. A Department of Labor report found blacks are less likely to find jobs and tend to stay unemployed for longer periods of time.
If Congress doesn’t act by December 1, Americans who have been out of work longer than six months will no longer receive benefits. Six months is the limit for most state-funded unemployment insurance. In April, another one million people might have their checks curtailed if the program is not renewed.
“We cannot forget the human cliff looming for more than two million Americans scheduled to lose their economic lifeline during the upcoming holidays,” Rep. Sander M. Levin (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.
Congress could have some hurdles in extending the benefits as conservative lawmakers “have raised concerns that continually extending jobless benefits is both an unmanageable burden on the federal budget and a disincentive for people to find work,” reports The Washington Post.
But a coalition of more than 35 groups led by the National Employment Law Project is launching an aggressive campaign to pressure Congress to extend the program.
This morning, everyone rejoiced about the latest unemployment numbers, showing that joblessness dropped to 7.8 percent, a 3 1/2-year low. Everyone, that is, but a few crackpot conservatives who are saying that President Obama somehow messed with the numbers to reflect the improved jobs information for political gain.
This conspiracy started with former GE CEO Jack Welch, who tweeted the statement below:
Welch was quickly joined by people like Rep. Allen West (R, FL, flat top); Generation Operation president and quote source for our story this morning, Paul Conway (we thought you were cool!); Laura Ingraham, who called the numbers “propaganda” in a tweet; and Stuart Varney on Fox News.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has gone on CNBC today to call the allegations “ludicrous.” And The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein points out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which collects this information, was specifically set up to avoid the kind of scheming that these crazies are spouting off about. “We’ve hit that moment in the election when people begin to lose their minds,” he writes. True words Ezra Klein.
For his part, Mitt Romney said, ““This is not what a real recovery looks like.” He goes on to say in his statement, “If not for all the people who have simply dropped out of the labor force, the real unemployment rate would be closer to 11 percent.”
More importantly, Romney used a Fox News interview on Thursday night to walk back on his comments about the “47 percent.”
“Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong,” he now says. “And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that’s been demonstrated throughout my life.” Mmm… no you haven’t actually Mr. Romney. Remember that time back in February when you told Soledad O’Brien, “I’m not concerned about the very poor — we have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.” He also said in that same interview that he doesn’t care about the very rich either. He also put his dog on the roof of his car, so if you count pets in that 100 percent, you have even more proof of his not caring.
Coming off of an awful showing at the debate the other night, President Obama (and the rest of us) got some good jobs news this morning: the unemployment rate has dropped to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest rate since January 2009. The country added 114,000 jobs during last month. The rate in August was 8.1 percent. After a closer look, the numbers for July and August were also improved. Of course, the government would like to see job creation happening at a faster clip, but we’ll take this.
The greatest growth was seen in the private sector, with health care, transportation and warehousing showing the greatest gains, according to The Wall Street Journal. Manufacturing is still a sore spot, losing 16,000 jobs. Governments, which have been losing jobs in previous months, added 10,000 positions. Average earnings are also slightly improved, up seven cents with the average pay reaching $23.58 cents per hour.
“Coming a month before the presidential election, the jobs report offered ammunition for both sides as the candidates vie to convince voters that each is better equipped to steer the economy. Mr. Obama can point to the 24th straight month of job growth after a severe financial crisis, while Republicans continue to criticize the glacial pace of the improvement,” report The New York Times.
Even though things are moving in the right direction, businesses are still cautious. At the end of the year, a number of tax increases and budget cuts could go into effect, shaving $1.2 trillion in spending over the next decade, cutting thousands of federal jobs and likely leading to layoffs in the private sector and, overall, sending us over the “fiscal cliff.” Shivers. But Congress could (and we bet, will likely) act before this would be set in motion on January 1.
For the black and Hispanic communities, the job situation is still a quagmire. Unemployment rates are well into the double digits, 22.4 percent for African Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 years old and 24.3 percent for the whole demographic, according to Politic365. According to Paul Conway, president of nonprofit Generation Opportunity and a former chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Labor in the 2000s, told the site that low education and graduation rates take a big part of the blame, along with the lack of professional networks and “leadership examples” (we need success mentors!). The article also brings up the disproportionate way that the minimum wage ($7.25 at the federal level) impacts African Americans. That’s definitely not enough to live comfortably, let alone raise a family, save for college, or pay for other necessary expenses.
(Chicago Tribune) – April Fools’ Day has been tough on Terrence Suber, of Naperville. He has lost his job not once but twice on April 1 in two years. The first was at Coca-Cola in Schaumburg, where, after 13 years as a sales director, his business unit was sold and his position eliminated. With two girls heading to college, he went through an executive recruiter and landed a job in three months with Farmer Brothers Co. in Downers Grove. But this year, Suber lost his job again amid company layoffs. Suber is back in the market, and based on his track record and his MBA, he remains confident he is going to find the right position. Still, he finds the interview process has gotten a lot tougher.
(USA Today) — The ranks of self-employed Americans are shrinking. In August, 14.5 million people were self-employed, down 2.1 million from the most recent peak in December 2006, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The number of “incorporated” self-employed workers — those who incorporate to gain legal protection and other benefits — began its decline in 2008. Last month, 5.1 million people were in this category, down 726,000 from August 2008. The decline is a “troubling” trend, says Scott Shane, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University. This category, which usually represents businesses that hire more employees than the “unincorporated” self-employed, was showing healthy growth before the recession, he says.
(News One) — It seems there is a disconnect from what is being covered by financial news and what the public is really concerned about. You can’t turn on the financial news networks without hearing questions such as the following: “Will the US raise its debt ceiling?” “Will the tax cuts for the rich be extended?” “Will the price of gas continue to increase?” Not to say that these questions aren’t important, but as the unemployment rate holds steady above 9 percent and the real rate of unemployment is over 16 percent people are less concerned about taxes, debt ceilings, and gas prices than they are concerned about keeping their jobs or finding one. So with that in mind, I wanted to dedicate this article to those who are unemployed by giving them some financial tips/strategies to employ in this hard economic market.
(Huffington Post) — As Michele Washington walks into a McDonald’s in Harlem on a recent evening, exhausted from a two-hour commute and eager for an inexpensive meal, her seven-year-old son, Monty, breaks into a chant that has become a regular soundtrack. ”Three things, three dollars,” Monty says rhythmically, reciting his mother’s rules of engagement at this ubiquitous outpost of cheap and plentiful calories. “Three things, three dollars. Mommy, give me three things.” While Monty dashes toward the counter, continuing his mantra, his mother trails behind, cringing. In the three years since she lost her full-time job, Washington, 33, has surrendered so much: her own home with its cherished kitchen; her car; her sense of sovereignty. Now, her son’s chant reminds her of another element lost to diminished economic fortunes — her commitment to healthy eating. ”It’s kind of embarrassing when your seven-year-old has his own rhyme about the Mickey D’s’ dollar menu,” says Washington. “This is not a mother of the year moment.”
(NPR) — President Obama spent Friday pushing job creation in manufacturing, but he’s getting increasing pressure for job results from a key part of his base: African-Americans. The unemployment rate for black men is about double the national average — and economists don’t expect that number to fall to the single digits anywhere in the near future. So while those dealing with unemployment wait for the government to create jobs, they turn to groups like Michigan Works, a public-private collaboration in Ypsilanti, Mich., that helps get the unemployed retrained and back into the job world.
(CBS News) – The economy and jobs will be big issues in Washington again this coming week. While unemployment among the general population is about 9.1 percent, it’s at 16.2 percent African Americans, and a bit higher still for African American males. CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports that, historically, the unemployment rate for African Americans has always been higher than the national average. However, now it’s at Depression-era levels. The most recent figures show African American joblessness at 16.2 percent. For black males, it’s at 17.5 percent; And for black teens, it’s nearly 41 percent.
(Daily Finance) — Some people kick you when you’re down, and with the effects of the recession lingering on through the jobless recovery, there are plenty of people down there to kick. Scams targeting the unemployed and cash-strapped are on the rise, and the con artists are getting more creative and sneaky. The Federal Trade Commission and its partners recently announced that they have brought more than 90 enforcement actions in a stepped-up campaign against scammers who falsely promise “guaranteed” jobs and opportunities to “be your own boss” to those who are struggling with unemployment and diminished incomes as a result of the recession. ”Working for a nonprofit credit counseling agency, we see too many people who are taken in by these scams because they are desperate and looking for a way out,” says Linnea Stephan, a certified financial planner with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. “That means that the rules on what to look for change, as the scammers will do whatever they can to look and sound legit,” she adds.