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Monday, November 7, 2011

Unemployed running out of payments before finding work; 99ers are still left behind

A report by the United States Census Bureau found that this nations’ unemployment crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America's unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

Facts about Americans Forgotten Job Seekers-The 99ers

This is not a new fact for a group of estimated 7 million unemployed job seekers, the 99ers. Not to be confused with the 99% who are taking part in the Occupy Protests nationwide; the 99ers are people who received between 73-99 weeks of federal extended unemployment benefits and have been exhausted from jobless payments since April 2010.

Many of the original unemployed job seeking 99ers are still without income and lack employment. A bill introduced by Rep’s Barbara Lee(D-CA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) February 2011 to extend 14 weeks of emergency unemployment payments to the 99ers, HR-589 has been frozen within the House Ways and Means Committee for nine months. Its’ doubtful in the House with Speaker John Bohener (R-OH) and the Republicans majority in the chamber will allow Rep. Lee and Scott’s bill to ever reach the floor for a vote.

The drop in job seekers receiving unemployment benefits checks have fell dramatically since last year when 75% of unemployed individuals were receiving checks. The figure now 48%, clearly cites a long known but severely unaddressed problem of Americans experiencing long-term unemployment crisis, first-hand. Nearly one-third of America's 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more and another 6 million have been jobless for two years.

The longest term jobless - an estimated 7 million 99ers - have been without a work for nearly three years and without any form income for over a year & one-half. 

Michigan 99ers, unemployed job seekers left out to dry state based with cuts in claimant weeks and assistance programs

Michigan, under the leadership of Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and the Republican controlled House and Senate in April 2011 was the first state in the nation to reduce weeks of state unemployment weeks claims from 26 to 20.

The Census Bureau report says unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people from slipping into poverty last year with the metric of the “poverty line” defining an annual income below $22,314 for a family of four.

So where do some long-term unemployed individuals go when jobless benefits are exhausted? To state and federally funded programs including food stamps and Social Security Disability. 

Nearly 46 million people received food stamps in August, a record total. Applications for the disability insurance program have jumped about 50 percent since 2007, ironically one year to the date when Michigan’s unemployment began in 2006.

In Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed two separate bills over the pass year that removed an estimated 41K families from state cash assistance programs and mandates Michigan Department of Human Services to apply a strict $5000 asset test to those seeking food stamps/bridge card assistance benefits.

Factual Unemployment Benefit Extension, Facts

Weekly unemployment checks average about $300 nationwide. If the extended benefits aren't renewed, growth could slow by up to a half-percentage point next year, economists say.

The Federal Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that each $1 spent on unemployment benefits generates up to $1.90 in economic growth. The CBO has found that the program is the most effective government policy for increasing growth among 11 options it's analyzed.

From 2007 to April 2010 –when the 99ers stop receiving benefits- the number of people receiving unemployment benefits rose more than four-fold, to 11.5 million.

But the economy has remained so weak that an analysis of long-term unemployment data suggests that about 2 million people have used up 99 weeks of checks and still can't find work. An October 2011 report statement by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that the number of discouraged workers -persons neither working nor looking for work -in October 2011 was 967,000. 

Additionally, the number of persons jobless for 27 weeks totaled 5.9 million, or 42.4 percent of total unemployment.

A review data available at the peak of this nation’s unemployment crisis in October 2009 the jobless rate was 10.1% and has since dropped to 9.0%. No exact data statistics exist for those who have exhausted jobless benefits since they are not counted by BLS or state based unemployment rolls.

Congress will face a test to extend jobless benefits for the tenth time while offering no additional help for the original 99ers

Normally, the proportion of the unemployed receiving benefits usually falls below 50 percent during an economic recovery. Today, the proportion is falling for a very different reason as finding employment remain scarce and, a large proportion of the unemployed are exhausting their benefits before ever returning back to full-time employment.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has noted that the long-term unemployed increasingly find it hard to find work as their skills and professional networks erode. In a speech last month, Bernanke called long-term unemployment a "national crisis" that should be a top priority for Congress.

The Republican controlled House of Representatives and Democratic Majority in the Senate are expected to decide whether to continue the extended federally funded benefits by the end of this year. President Barack Obama (D) in his American’s Job Act of 2011 proposal has called for an extension of the program.  If Congress fails to add claimant weeks to the Federal program, nearly 2.2 million people only source of income, will end at the January 2012.

Nothing in the Americans Job Act of 2011 would extend benefits or restart funding career assistance initiatives like Michigan former "No Worker Left Behind" program for the longest term unemployed, the 99ers. This group of over 5 million individuals would still be left to deal with a jobs crisis not of their making, on their own.

During America’s unemployment crisis, Congress has extended the program nine times, under the former Democratic controlled House and current Majority in the Senate. The cost to extend the program a tenth time -$45 billion dollars- is expected to be a negative factor within the Republican Controlled House first time vote on the issue.

Reach Out Job Search News and Radio Program continues to support and assist the 99ers & other long-term unemployed job seekers

Reach Out Job Search News & Radio program, a news blog and radio program dedicated to the cause of supporting America's job seekers started on November 6th on ROJS-R, the first of a four month series with Caitlin Sampson of Regal Resumes on "Finding Employment in the 21st Century". 

Ms. Sampson, a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), started the series with a discussion on "Targeting ones job search" and defining "What types of job candidates today's employers are seeking" on Sunday, November 6th at 11:00 AM. Job seekers that missed the program are highly encouraged to listen to ROJS-R podcast, available for download on I-Tunes for I-Pods, I-Pads on Blubrry and at the Blog Talk Radio Network for other MP3 types of players.

The next stage in the "Finding Employment in the 21st Century" series will cover "How to format a winning resume/cover letter" and "When to seek Professional Resume Writing services". Job seekers can submit direct questions by email for Ms. Sampson to answer LIVE on Sunday, December 4, 2011 @ 11:00 AM for an opportunity to win a Regal Resume Makeover and two hour career search one-to-one consultation session with a Regal Resume CPRW.

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