The Great Recession: Unemployed for Years

. Sunday, February 21

unemployed_graphic2Waiting for yet another extension to be approved by Congress, roughly 2.7 million will run out of unemployment by April, according to a NY Times article.

The long-term unemployed are now the “new poor” as many earned middle-class incomes but now rely on public assistance programs such as Food Stamps to live. The hardest hit are women 45 to 64 years of age; many lacking the skills, especially computer skills and higher education, to reenter the job force.

“Large companies are increasingly owned by institutional investors who crave swift profits, a feat often achieved by cutting payroll. The declining influence of unions has made it easier for employers to shift work to part-time and temporary employees. Factory work and even white-collar jobs have moved in recent years to low-cost countries in Asia and Latin America. Automation has helped manufacturing cut 5.6 million jobs since 2000 — the sort of jobs that once provided lower-skilled workers with middle-class paychecks.”

In the past, it was automobiles, home building and banking that have led the nation out of downturns, yet this time, only banking continues to expand, attributed mostly to the government bailout.

“People with more education and skills will probably figure something out once the economy picks up. It’s the ones with less education and skills: that’s the new poor.”

While the job market turns in ways never seen in history, state level unemployment funds are stretched. Federal level extensions come and go, with no notice, and when they do end, a person drawing unemployment on an extension can be cut off, even with a remaining balance showing in their account.

Waiting on Congress to pass the next round of funding for unemployment extensions isn’t going to help those who will be cut off from receiving extended unemployment, mostly likely by the end of February. Texas has already announced that all extensions will terminate by the 27th.