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Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday 's Hot Tamale: Should Government Extend Unemployment Benefits?

Are you a 99 weeker? Or afraid of becoming one. Most of you never thought that you would be collecting unemployment benefits for over one and a half years. How long should the federal government pay unemployment benefits? Do you think it should be 2 or 3 years? Should a re-training program be required?
Since unemployment hovers around 10% what should the governments role be. If real unemployment (U6) really is over 20% in many states does the government have a role in keeping its citizens from falling off the soci-economic cliff. Some say pay now or pay later. It really is simple. No work and no money will lead to a decline on physical health , mental health and economic  contribution.
Thousands of our readers have expressed their desire and willingness to work. It is not just about having the perfect resume. Perfecting your interview skills. But having enough jobs that fit the skills of the available job seekers.
If you were trained to be skilled retail direct mail marketing expert. Over the last 10 years you watched as your industry has shrunk, your skill requirements changed and younger skilled workers entered the work force.
Some would say "loser" why didn't you retrain, change industries and  get a new job.  Some job seekers did. We applaud them. But others missed the cue's or perhaps found it difficult to change behavior or OMG just loved their job.
So I again ask you what role should government have? What voice resonates with you. "Let the Free market prevail". "Protector of the norm".  "Facilitator of change".

Tell us your suggestions and comments below?

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11 Post a Comment :

Fuzz124 said...

Actually, you can collect up to 99 weeks in california, not 79 weeks

Alex said...

I have been unemployed for 340 days (11 months and 6 days). I have been looking for a job since the very first day after I got laid off due to the bad economy. Because I have a PhD, I have been denied low-income jobs as cashier, bank teller, customer service rep, etc. Also because of my PhD, I have been denied lower-paying jobs in my own field because I am "overqualified", even temp jobs. My unemployment benefits (from MA) end in about 2 months. If I don't get a job, ANY JOB, by then, I will tap the last money I have in my retirement account that should last me for 2-3 months... and then, all is gone. I'll lose my house, my car, EVERYTHING.
Do I think the unemployment benefits should last forvere, probably not. But after 1 year of being unemployed, I will gladly take my unemployment payments from the government as a LONG TERM LOAN, to be repaid after I get a job. The economy will eventually get back to normal and I will be able to re-pay it.

David Mabry said...

They shouldn't be 'forever', but perhaps tied to the national unemployment rate similar to the way the Fed manages interest rates.

Anonymous said...

Federal legislation enacted in July 2008 provided up to 13 weeks of extended benefits for workers who exhausted their regular UI benefits in California and across the country. Legislation enacted in November 2008 adds up to 7 weeks to the earlier extension, for a total of up to 20 weeks of extended benefits. The legislation states that these added benefits are only payable for weeks beginning on or after November 23, 2008. The November 2008 legislation also included a second extension of up to 13 weeks for high unemployment states, which includes California. Eligible workers will receive a total of up to 33 weeks of extended benefits. New legislation enacted on February 17, 2009, extends the last date a federal extension claim can be filed and paid.

Displaced From Automotive said...

Like Alex below, I have been unemployed for a significant period of time, over a year and a half. I have been searching for a job across multiple job segments. I have also not been accepted at lower paying jobs (I have an MBA) and I am sure that my age is a factor as well (61) I have spent my life in the automotive industry (Supplier Side) where jobs today are very scarce, and highly competitive. I have tried to find work in other job segments where my skills would be viable (Program Management) but in each, I have found that there are barriers to obtaining jobs in that industry (Aircraft, no experience in Aircraft, with many experienced people available in that segment) (Defense or Aerospace, Need government procurement experience and or a government clearance) I am willing to relocate, obtain additional training, or wha ever is necessary for a new position, but have had no luck so far.

I am also on the last of my retirement savings, and my marriage has dissolved because of having employment problems as the auto industry has dissolved (After my long term employer filed for bankruptcy in 2005, I had taken several contract position either out of state or that required substantial travel, before after living away from my family for over a year, last contract was terminated as the economy tanked a year and a half ago.) Like Alex I also don't believe that unemployment should last forever, but as in his case it is the only thing that I have to save me from the loss of my home and the small remainder of my savings.

After working for 40 years in various management capacities in the industrial sector, as a result of the failure of several companies I have worked for, and the automotive industry in general, (pensions lost by failed companies, and having to take short term Contract assignments with few benefits as the industry declined) and the self serving nature of the legal community (2 divorces, child support and substantial legal fees) I have nothing to fall back on and am currently adding to debt with only UIC as income, and no active current job prospects.

iCerk said...

My only comment on this article is that you have be pretty irresponsible to even have asked the question to begin with... This article is EXACTLY what is wrong with America. I am, in fact, currently unemployed and I would not want a 'helping hand' to feed me forever. As much as I want to work and need to work, I do not want to be 'enabled' forever. At some point, it has to end. This is why our country is financially bankrupt as it is... over the last 20-30 years, the government has been tapping social security dollars to pay for things that: #1-it wasn't intended to pay for (child support, education, etc.) and #2-have 'enabled' people to the point they have become dependent on it.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" needs to apply to unemployed people as well...

Anonymous said...

I too cannot find work after an eleven-month search. My age is against me and I too have gotten the rejection of "you don't know aerospace AND knitting" type answers. I don't believe in big government, but with the employment crisis, we need this help. I know people from other countries who have jobs that I could do. Yet, I could not go to their homelands and take a job. The USA needs to level the playing field.

Snowbound said...

I too cannot find work after an eleven-month search. My age is against me and I too have gotten the rejection of "you don't know aerospace AND knitting" type answers. I don't believe in big government, but with the employment crisis, we need this help. I know people from other countries who have jobs that I could do. Yet, I could not go to their homelands and take a job. The USA needs to level the playing field.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been on anyone's payroll since October 2008. I'm in the software industry & the future is starting to change, ever so slowly. I have a wife and two small sons who up to 2008 I've been able to provide for very well. If anyone thinks that a lack of money doesn't put a strain on a marriage then you're head is in the sand. We just separated & I just took an offer from a software VAR for considerably less than what I'm used to earning. I had to dummy down my resume because I couldn't even get a Xmas help job at Frye's, UPS, Wal Mart, ad nauseum. I think that the government should not only be offering extensions to those of us who are unemployed but provide realistic training so that when we re-enter our existing industry or a new one, we're ready for it. These are strange times we live in & we all have to do our part to maintain our sanity, so I have no qualms with asking the government to keep the extensions coming. After all, how much money did the government give to corporations who needed a bail out? Well, it's our time for individual bail out money. If they don't do something more than what they're doing this country is going to be full of homeless folks with no hope. That's all I ask for is just a ray of hope to keep me going, well that and some more extensions.

Anonymous said...

I think the government should continue unemployment until there are jobs enough for all of us unemployed. I am about to loose my unemployment benefit (approaching the 99 weeks) and I am hoping for another extension. I have been out since June 2008 and have only had 10 interviews in all of that time. I am in finance in the architectural industry and of the 10 only 4 were in the industry. I have used a ream of paper sending out resumes in the past 90 weeks or so. We have used up our savings and I am very worried what will happen when the unemployment runs out and there are still not enough jobs to go around. I get angry when I read things such as "end the unemployment and they will find jobs." That may be true for some but for most of us we are trying and scared and need the help.

DJ said...

I have been out of work for 14 months, and very frustrated by it. My feeling is though that unemployment should end after a certain period of time. Not that I want to see anyone hurt, but it cannot and should not go on forever. Currently, NJ is tied to the unemployment number and there is 99 wks available, that should be the end of it. As far as COBRA, that should continue as long as needed, to help cover those families that need it.
Employers need to start hiring again, and to get away from the shortsighted goals that they have set concerning their ability to make bonus or cover their profits.

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