Yet more bad news for the unemployed
Most have run out of benefits and no help is expected.
So many Americans have been unemployed for so long that they have run out of their benefits. According to government statistics, 75 percent of the unemployed were receiving checks early last year. Now only 48 percent of the unemployed are receiving benefits. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has referred to this as a national crisis.
An unemployed woman protests for the extension of unemployment benefits. The future remains bleak for the long-term unemployed as their skills become outdated.
Even worse for the long-term unemployed, their job skills are beginning to slowly erode as the market continues to change and evolve with time. In other words, the longer a person remains unemployed the more difficult it becomes for them to find a new job, at least in their field.
Without unemployment benefits, these Americans are forced to turn to food stamps, disability, and in some cases Social Security for survival. In many cases, these people become reliant on the charity and goodwill of their families and communities to meet their daily needs.
Compounding the problem, people receiving public assistance or assistance from family, don't just place a strain on resources, but they do not pay into the system either, effectively burning the candle at both ends by drawing resources without paying into the system.
While unemployment is a bad economic sign, unemployment benefits are good for the economy. They serve as a form of economic stimulus. It's estimated that for every dollar paid in unemployment benefits $1.90 is created in growth. So when those benefits expire, it has a depressing effect on economic growth.
Part of the problem is the nature of unemployment benefits. They were never designed to sustain the long-term unemployed. They have been the perfect panacea for individuals suffering through short-term recessions however, the Great Recession continues for Main Street despite optimistic growth on Wall Street. This means that millions of Americans remain out of work, and without income, and are not paying into the system.
It's unclear what should be done, if unemployment benefits should be extended even beyond the 99 weeks for which they are given in some states, or if other social safety nets need to be developed to keep people from suffering the ills of long-term unemployment. In any case, the conservative legislature is unlikely to adopt any of these proposals, just another bit of bad news for the long-term unemployed.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: unemployment, long-term, chronic, job skills, Congress, economy, Great Recession
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