While media and economic analysts salivate over reportedly stabilizing jobless claim numbers, tens of thousands of Americans are about to exhaust their unemployment benefits:
…now the sustenance has been cut off. The federal Extended Benefits program, which provides up to 20 weeks of benefits for long-term unemployed who burn through both state benefits and federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation, expired this month in North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
The deadline for payouts passed on April 16. The North Carolina General Assembly approved a bill that would preserve the benefits, but Gov. Bev Perdue (D) vetoed it Saturday because Republicans paired the measure with deep budget cuts. St. Louis is one of 37,000 long-term unemployed North Carolinians who have been left hanging.
The next states where the program will expire are Alaska, Alabama and Kansas, according to Mike Evangelist of the National Employment Law Project. Analyzing state unemployment data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Labor, Evangelist predicts EB payments will stop in those states on May 14 unless local lawmakers take action. Payments will stop in June in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and New Jersey (though legislation to prevent the cutoff there is on the governor’s desk).
source: Huff Post
As fiscal budgetary issues in states across the nation get worse, we can expect that there will be no relief for those who are simply unable to find labor. We’ll spend billions upon trillions fighting wars in the middle east, bailing out other nations from natural disasters, providing foreign aid to buy allies, and stimulating economic recovery by purchasing worthless assets from even more worthless banks domestically and abroad. But when it comes to providing assistance for Americans right here at home, politicians immediately began talking about the necessity of budget cuts, spending measures and austerity.
It’s worth noting that while jobless claims are hovering at 400,000 new claims, it takes over 200,000 jobs to be created each month just to break even. Thus, we are still losing more jobs then we are creating. On top of that, thousands of Americans every week are losing their emergency unemployment benefits, often becoming totally invisible in the unemployment statistics because they are ‘no longer looking for work.’
While pundits argue about whether or not we will have a double dip recession, for millions of Americans, we’re well beyond that, clearly within depression territory. According to John Williams of Shadowstats, if we utilized calculation methods for unemployment the way we did before 1994, and counted not just those who are unemployed or employed part-time and looking for full time work, but those who are considered “long-term discouraged” works (like the people who have fallen off of emergency unemployment benefits), the actual unemployment rate would not be 9.2% as the official government statistics indicate, but rather, would be well above 22%. That’s one in five Americans who want meaningful work, but simply can’t find it.
It is also important to keep in mind that even with the official, low-end statistic of 9.2%, there are over fifteen million people currently unemployed in America. Some of them will find work. Most will not. This means that at some point, their benefits will be exhausted as well.
Is it any wonder why the food stamp participation rate in this country is rapidly approaching 50 million people?
Economic recovery? Only if you’re smoking those green shoots with Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner and President Obama.