Long-term unemployed caught in a perfect storm

It's interesting to read the news on today's unemployment numbers with a first line of WORST OVER?. It then goes on to explain how the numbers were "better than expected" even though the economy continues to bleed jobs.
Sure, not everything in the report was bad news...just most of it. The media was quick to report that temporary jobs were increasing, but failed to mention that the U-6 was also increasing, that the number of people on permanent layoff was increasing, and that people not in the labor force but still want a job was increasing.

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All of this overlooks the fact that hundreds of thousands of long-term unemployed are about to exhaust even their emergency and extended unemployment benefits every month. From Goldman Sachs:

More than 400,000 jobless workers could run down their federal benefits each month over the next several months, even assuming that Congress continues to renew the expanded benefit period now in place.

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More workers are moving from regular benefits into emergency benefits. The chart above illustrates this process. Workers who qualify for jobless benefits begin by receiving 26 weeks of standard unemployment benefits. They then move into the first of four tiers of emergency benefits, described at the bottom of the exhibit above. The third tier is generally available to states with an unemployment rate of more than 6%, so that most states are currently eligible. The fourth tier is available to states with an unemployment rate above 8.5%, which applies to a more limited group of states. Once jobless workers move through the tiers for which they are eligible, they usually move to state extended benefit programs, which once again depend on the unemployment rate in a given state and last an additional 20 weeks. In all, this means a laid off employee can receive benefits for 99 weeks, or almost two years, after losing employment. The result is that total uninsurance compensation rolls have risen significantly, even while regular continued claims have fallen.

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in absolute terms the numbers are beginning to mount. For instance, over 100,000 workers exhausted their Tier III benefits last month, and for some of them this will be the end of unemployment compensation (a few will move to Tier IV benefits, and others will move onto state emergency benefits for a few months before completely exhausting their eligibility) If the rate of exhaustion continues at the current pace, this implies over 400,000 workers will exhaust their benefits in some months, even if Congress continues to extend the current, more generous, unemployment program.

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The article focuses on the economic effects from so many people slipping through any sort of government safety net. That's not what I think is more important. I think the social costs are the most important - and they will be devastating. This includes rising crime and suicide rates, as well as people having their careers destroyed.
Inevitably we could see political costs as well, possibly even social unrest.

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suicide rates

this is a good topic in and of itself.

I personally know of more than one person, displaced by a H-1B guest worker, then facing financial ruin, who killed themselves and even wanted it publicized why they did.

I have a tendency to not publicize that because I do not want that promoted and it also pisses me off.....because Wall Street, these corporations probably applaud such acts, they have no souls....so that person is just helping the bastards out in reeking more havoc upon the lives of working people.

That said, this is real and people are being suffering, this continual abuse of the U.S. worker is literally killing people.

But getting an estimate of just how many are falling off of the money and count cliff, into the poverty void....

I went through a bunch of this stuff last month, but this month, just a couple of graphs...

so estimating how many fell into the pool of the damned...

critical. You can see from one of the graphs I posted, we have a record happening in those unemployed for greater than 27 weeks.

I also did a call out on the headline rhetoric, but you know what, beyond the news aggregators, almost every single finance/economic blogger out there caught that this was crap, which is a good sign.

BTW: Rate my post on it up and I'll rate yours up...

for this site I cannot think of anything more important that what is happening to working America, so having two posts on this, front paged, is a good thing.

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government and the people

It’s not just the press that puts the positive spin on the report. I listened to part of a House committee questioning the administrator whose department produces the report and found it interesting that the Democrats, which ostensively are the party of labor and the struggling classes, were doing their best to elicit testimony that the administration’s economic policies were working. It was the Republicans that were pointing out that TARP money was not impacting employment significantly. Neither cares about the unemployed. Each was trying to gain political advantage for elections. It was especially sad to see an African American representative ‘carrying the party’s water’, rather than the so many struggling people he argues he represents at election time.

Legendary House leader Sam Rayburn would meet with freshmen representatives every two years and say: “The best way to get along is to go along.” The point: if you want a very nice lucrative career in the House just do and say what you are told. The party is a de facto corporation and like any corporation the workers must support the corporation or lose their jobs.

But, I believe the Constitution is an incredibly brilliant document. It truly outlines the conditions for a democratic government (government of, by and for the people). In short, the people have the government that they want. No member of the government is there unless the people put them there. The really fascinating sociological question is why the people put into government those who do them so much harm? The writers of the Constitution seemingly never thought that the people would act so detrimentally against their own self interests – go figure!

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