Misadventures of “unemployed man”

Posted: 30 April 2011 in Uncategorized
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Nobody wants to read the story of “unemployed man” but he won’t go away. In fact, in many ways his situation is getting worse.

Officially, there are about 13 and a half million unemployed people in the United States. If we add those people who are working part-time for economic reasons (8.4 million), workers who are marginally attached to the labor force (2.4 million), and discouraged workers (about a million), there are over 25 million unemployed and underemployed workers in the United States.

The time “unemployed man” has been without a job is also getting longer. More than 6 million people have been officially unemployed for 27 weeks or more. That’s 45 percent of the total.

The chances of being “unemployed man” are much higher if you’re young (24.5 percent if you’re between the ages of 16 and 19), Black (15.5 percent), or Hispanic (11.3 percent).

“Unemployed man” is also running out of jobless benefits. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs in mid-March was 8 and a half million (here is the breakdown of benefits). That leaves about 5 million unemployed people who are not receiving benefits of any sort.

Clearly, the misadventures of “unemployed man” make for terrible bedtime reading. So, instead, the politicians and mainstream economists distract us by telling doom-and-gloom stories about soaring fiscal deficits and trying to convince us of the need to slash entitlement programs. But that won’t save us from the nightmare of millions of people who are without a full-time job, for longer and longer periods of time, and who are running out of jobless benefits at alarming rates.

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