Monday, February 08, 2010

U.S. Jobless Rate Now 9.7%, but Millions Fear Losing Unemployment Insurance

This is a good story from the AFL-CIO for those seeking information regarding information about the latest action Washington plans to take to tackle unemployment.

The following story is straight from the AFL-CIO:

"The U.S. unemployment rate fell from 10 percent to 9.7 percent in January, with 14.8 million workers now without jobs. Employment continued to decrease in construction and transportation and increase in retail, health care and temp work, according to U.S. Department of Labor data out this morning. Unemployment among black workers continued to worsen.

When both unemployed and underemployed workers are counted, there still are 25.5 million people without jobs or full-time work.

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says:

We welcome the news that unemployment dropped to 9.7%, but we shed another 20,000 jobs last month, following a revised 150,000 loss in December. These numbers underscore what we have been saying all along. Working families need bigger and bolder actions—in the short, medium and long term—to create jobs in the immediate future—or we risk permanent scarring of our economy and our workforce.

Among the worst aspects of the nation’s unacceptably high unemployment rate—and there are many—the growing numbers of long-term jobless workers is something that can, and must, be addressed immediately. Long-term U.S. unemployment (those without a job for 27 weeks or longer), with more than 6 million unemployed workers out of a job for more than six months. In January, the number of long-term unemployed workers worsened, to 6.3 million workers.

But the unemployment insurance (UI) extension for millions of workers expires Feb. 28, unless Congress—specifically, the Senate—takes action.

In December, the U.S. House passed a jobs bill that included a long-term UI and Cobra extension, but the U.S. Senate failed to act and Congress was forced to pass a short-term extension of both programs. (Click here to tell your lawmakers it’s time to act.)

According to National Employment Law Project estimates, of the nearly 1.2 million U.S. workers facing a cut off of benefits in March alone:

380,000 workers will exhaust their 26 weeks of state benefits without accessing the temporary EUC extension program or the permanent federal program of Extended Benefits.
Another 814,000 workers will not be eligible to continue receiving EUC past their current tier of benefits.

A one-year extension of unemployment insurance is part of our AFL-CIO five-point jobs program, and the Obama administration supports a long-term extension. But it’s unclear what shape a Senate jobs bill will take. Senate Republicans say they will oppose any jobs legislation on a scale large enough most economists say will do real good.

After all, why should those senators worry? They have a job. For now"

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