For many, Black Friday was their last spending hoorah for quite a while. As we reported in October, over a million people were expected to lose unemployment benefits by Christmas.
The time has come, and it’s worse than originally predicted:
…since lawmakers aren’t moving to extend the deadline anytime soon, many more unemployed Americans will run out of their extended federal benefits in coming weeks. About 2 million people are expected to stop receiving checks in December.
State unemployment agencies are very concerned about the impending end to these extended jobless payments, which they say people depend on to cover their rent and buy food.
“It’s a critical safety net program,” said Nancy Dunphy, New York State’s deputy commissioner of labor for employment security. “This is the worst time of year to be running out of benefits.”
The 2 million people that go off the unemployment insurance benefits will no longer be counted as “unemployed” or “underemployed,” which ends up benefiting the government’s monthly unemployment statistics in a positive way.
Though we are told that the official unemployment rate is about 9.6%, and the underemployment rate is north of 16%, the actual numbers, according to John Williams of Shadow Stats, indicate that we’re looking at more than one in five Americans (22%) currently out of work. These are Great Depression numbers, folks, and they’re only going to get worse.
This is just the first round of people losing benefits, and it will continue until jobs return to America – which isn’t going to be anytime soon. The government simply cannot continue to offer the benefits indefinitely (though they will continue to bail out major banking institutions as needed). For the nearly 30 million people officially unemployed in the U.S., two years from now, benefits will be gone for them as well. From the government’s standpoint, it may be touted as “zero unemployment” because those people won’t be counted anymore. In reality, those on the ground, employed or not, will be fully aware of the economic depression.
In November of 2008, trend forecaster Gerald Celente said that by 2012 “putting food on the table is going to be more important that putting gifts under the Christmas tree.” Given the current unemployment situation in America, it’s no longer difficult to imagine this being the case.