Each week the Bureau of Labor announces the number of people signing up for unemployment benefits for the first time. The number has stayed well over the 300,000 mark each week, but the good news is that the unemployment rate declined from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent in Nov. However the bad news according to a Dec. 27 article in the Boston Globe is that for the long-term unemployed the help that has been available through an emergency unemployment federal program will end on Saturday for 1.3 million people without jobs.
Unemployment benefits offer financial help to those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. It's not a lot of money, and typically pays about 45 percent of a person's pay for 26 weeks. It's not a lot but it does help people to stay afloat as they look for work. During the recession and weak recovery, the government has offered Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) which offers income support for as many as 73 more weeks. To get emergency unemployment benefits, people must be actively looking for work. Once unemployment benefits run out, that incentive to look for a job dries up. Discouraged people who don't find work eventually join the millions who lost their jobs during the recession and never found work. These people are no longer counted as formally unemployed, and they become the forgotten or uncounted unemployed. Others have joined those ranks during the recovery, too.
Who are the long-term unemployed?
These long-term, uncounted unemployed people come from every demographic including young people. According to CNN Money, only 78% of young people ages 20-34 have a job or are looking for work and the reason is the weak economy. A recent report puts the number of out-of-school yet our-of work population at more than six million.
"Recessions are particularly hard on the young, with last-in, first-out policies at many organizations and a preference at firms to freeze hiring before they start laying off employees, which hurts recent grads." – CNN Money
When we consider those without jobs who have fallen off the grid and become discouraged the number of unemployed is more than 14% and now another million plus will be added to those numbers as the emergency unemployment program is allowed to expire as part of a budget deal.