The Washington State Employment Security Department has just announced that tens of thousands of additional unemployed workers here in Washington State will soon lose their unemployment benefits. About one thousand additional workers every week are running out of benefits here in Washington State.
There are 76,000 unemployed workers in Washington State who have already exhausted all of their benefits since Dec 2009. Another 175,000 unemployed workers in our State are still collecting unemployment checks as of March 2012. But 12,000 unemployed workers in our State will lose their benefits on April 21. Another 11,000 will lose them by late June, and another 40,000 people will run out of benefits by the end of this year. In total, more than 63,000 will lose their benefits this year and a total of 140,000 will have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits since December 2007. Those affected by the April 21st cut-back will get notices in the next few days. Once their benefits are gone, most of these desperate long term unemployed workers will join the rapidly growing ranks of the invisible unemployed. Currently workers are allowed up to 99 weeks of unemployment checks. But by the end of April, the maximum number of weeks of unemployment checks will drop from 99 weeks to 73 weeks. Then in September, the maximum number of weeks will fall to 63 weeks. In January 2013, the maximum number of weeks will be reduced to 26 weeks. According to a 2011 study by the State Employment Security Department, only 25% of workers who have exhausted all of their benefits were able to find jobs. Those lucky few who found jobs are now making 30% less than they made in their former job. Of those who failed to find a job by the time their 99 weeks were up, 86% said they were still trying to find work. Nearly half (45%) said the biggest obstacle they faced in finding a job was age discrimination – no one wants to hire older workers. While the media claims that the problem is a lack of training, less than 10% said that lack of training was and obstacle to getting a job. Instead, 90% have the training and qualifications and the skills to do their job, but still cannot find work because there are no jobs to be found. The median age of exhaustees taking the survey was 47 – meaning the median age at the time they lost their former job was 45. Half of the exhaustees are highly educated – with at least some college education beyond high school. https://fortress.wa.gov/esd/employmentdata/docs/special-reports/Unemployment-benefits-exhaustee-report-2011.pdf Below are two charts from the study: By the end of this year, more than 140,000 unemployed workers in Washington State will have no job, no benefits left and have been unemployed for more than three years. By the end of 2013, this number will have risen to more than 200,000. These invisible unemployed workers are losing their homes, their health, their life savings and their hope. The above numbers only count those who have had jobs in the past and have qualified for unemployment insurance. There are many others with former jobs who do not qualify and many other young adults who do not qualify for unemployment assistance because they were never even able to find their first job! Since July 2010, the official Washington State workforce has fallen from 3.54 million to 3.46 million – a decline of 80,000 workers in a single year. In fact, if one counts the 60,000 invisible young adults entering the work force each year - but being unable to find jobs - the actual workforce increased by 60,000 workers in the past year. Thus, for the year, the number of invisible unemployed rose by 140,000 – bringing the total number of invisible unemployed in Washington State to more than 600,000 and the total workforce to over 4 million. The number of unemployed workers is currently reported to be only 320,000. However, with only 3 million actual jobs in Washington State, the real number of unemployed workers is more than one million. Thus, while the official unemployment rate is reported to be only 8.5%, the actual unemployment rate is greater than 25%. 15 Million Now Unemployed in the US Nationally, of the 10 million jobs lost since December 2007, less than 3 million people have found replacement jobs. That leaves 7 million workers who have been unable to find jobs and been unemployed for more than two years. But also the American workforce has been growing at a rate of more than 2 million young adults entering the workforce every year for the past 4 years. That means the total increase in unemployed increase in unemployment since 2008 has been 7 million plus 8 million equals 15 million. Even the lucky 3 million who found jobs since 2007 are working for pay which is 30% less than they use to earn. The remaining 7 million that lost their jobs have survived on State and federal unemployment checks. On average, these checks cover a third of the worker’s pre-layoff wage. The average unemployment check is only $300 per week. The remaining 8 million young adults who entered the workforce since December 2007 do not qualify for unemployment benefits – or even count as part of the work force because over half of them were never able to find even their first job. The real unemployment rate among young adults under the age of 25 is more than 50%. We have an entire generation of young adults “couch surfing” on whatever place they can find to spend the night. 3.5 million Americans now rely on federal extended unemployment checks as their sole source of income. Sadly Congress has failed to renew the extension of unemployment benefits. . Failure to extend unemployment will lead to another half million job losses in the next few months. More than one million unemployed workers will lose this final lifeline in the coming months. The primary reason that the unemployment rate has fallen below 8.5% is that millions of Americans who want to work have lost all of their benefits. In the twisted logic of the BLS, these unemployed and increasingly desperate Americans are no longer counted as being unemployed (even though 75% of them still are) and are thus they have joined the ranks of the invisible unemployed. We are facing the greatest actual rate of unemployment since the Social Security Act was passed in 1935 during the Great Depression. How many more good hard working honest Americans must fall into this financial nightmare before our State or federal government will act? Just today, a jobs bill passed in the Washington State legislature. It will provide 17,000 jobs. This will not be enough to cover the loss of jobs this summer resulting from massive cuts in the State transportation budget. We need a State jobs bill which will employ 200,000 now – not one which will continue to employ 17,000 who are already working – but do nothing for the hundreds of thousands in our State who need jobs, are qualified for jobs, but simply cannot find work because there is none to be found. Nationally, the BLS just announced that 100,000 new jobs were created last month. Given the growth in the workforce is close to 200,000, this simply means another 100,000 young adults joined the ranks of the invisible unemployed. Reporter Matt Taibbi then wrote an article condemning this bill as yet another in a long series of fake jobs bills which are nothing more than corporate giveaways – with no guarantee that any jobs will be created. “The “Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act” will very nearly legalize fraud in the stock market. In fact, one could say this law is not just a sweeping piece of deregulation that will have an increase in securities fraud as an accidental, ancillary consequence. No, this law actually appears to have been specifically written to encourage fraud in the stock markets… There’s just no benefit that the JOBS Act brings to an honest startup company. In fact, it puts an honest company at a severe disadvantage, because now it has to compete against other, less scrupulous companies that can simply make their projections up on the backs of envelopes.” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/why-obamas-jobs-act-couldnt-suck-worse-20120409 The JOBS Act was opposed by the AFL-CIO with only Senator Patty Murray and Representative Jim McDermott voting against it from the Washington State delegation. 41 members of the Progressive Democratic Caucus also voted against it, including Dennis Kucinich. Incredibly, the JOBS Act exempts new startups from independent accounting requirements for the first five years after they begin to sell shares in the stock market. This is exactly the kind of deregulation that led to the current economic collapse as well as the dot-com collapse in 1999. Both of these collapses caused ordinary people to lose more than $5 trillion. This new deregulation is certain to repeat this disastrous history. All the JOBS Act will really do is make billions of dollars for Goldman Sachs and other big Wall Street gamblers.
Here is a video on the JOBS Act from the Real News Network featuring Bill Black, author of the Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One:
This 11 minute interview explains why the JOBS ACT will reduce capital available for new startups rather than increasing capital for new companies. “This bill is a scandal and an atrocity.” Bill Black“What we are witnessing is a corporate crime wave.” Ralph Nader America’s Millions of Unemployed Workers Needs a REAL Jobs Bill There are 15 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands in Washington State, who have been unemployed for more than 3 years – not though any fault of their own, but because of deregulation of greedy Wall Street gamblers like Goldman Sachs. These honest Americans need a REAL jobs bill which will create REAL jobs now so they can support their families and stay in their homes. The only bill offered in Congress that comes close to providing this number of jobs is the NEED ACT by Congressman Dennis Kucinich. The NEED Act would create 7 to 10 million jobs simply by taking back control of our nation’s money system from the same greedy Wall Street Bankers who crashed our economy in the first place. If you would like to restore full employment in America, please visit our website, washingtoncitizensforkucinich.org and sign our petition to keep Dennis Kucinich in Congress. Regards, David Spring M.Ed.
Washington Citizens for Kucinich