April 12, 2014 |
Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest point since the week of May 12, 2007, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday, and because this statistic can serve as a proxy for the economy, that sounds like good news. Such good news, in fact, that advocates for the unemployed worry that it will hurt their chances on Capitol Hill to push for an extension of extra federally funded jobless benefits. For the week ending April 5, 300,000 initial claims for unemployment benefits were filed, 32,000 fewer claims than the previous week.
April 4, 2014
NOW that the Supreme Court has loosened the spigot of money flowing to Congress and other elected officials in its McCutcheon decision this week, maybe we'll finally start getting really outraged at the callousness with which these lawmakers treat Americans. Case in point: the intractability of the House to consider renewing the unemployment benefits for the 2 million Americans who saw theirs expire last year. The Senate this week finally paved the way for a vote to approve renewal, but the House shows no sign of rushing to fix this; in fact, House Speaker John Boehner recently suggested it was too complicated for computers to handle the programming required to restore back payments.
March 9, 2014 |
Economists liked the U.S. Labor Department's Friday report on the nation's job situation, cheered by news that payrolls expanded by 175,000 in February and unfazed by a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent from 6.6 percent. In a Center City classroom, Deborah Weston of West Philadelphia was also optimistic. Laid off in July after 27 years at the same insurance company, Weston signed up for Step IT Up America, which promises jobs and paid training to African American women who want to get into information technology.
January 14, 2014
WE ELECT members of Congress to represent our interests and our views. Does that mean that Congress' view of Americans is, in fact, how we see ourselves? We hope not, because that view is unflattering, to say the least. Case in point: In December, more than a million people ran out of unemployment benefits, Congress having failed to pass an extension of federal jobless benefits that kick in after the typical 26-week state programs expire. Last week, the Senate advanced a bill that Republicans in the House say has little chance of passing.
December 31, 2013
If some of your neighbors don't seem too happy about the new year, it could be because Congress decided to go home and party without extending unemployment benefits. After patting itself on the back for barely passing a budget deal, Congress left 1.3 million long-term-unemployed Americans without any obvious means of support. Lawmakers didn't include an extension of unemployment benefits in the budget deal, so the program expired on Saturday. In addition to the current beneficiaries, an extension would have helped another 850,000 people who are expected to have been out of work for more than six months as of March.
December 27, 2013
WHILE some of us recover from the effects of excessive seasonal spirit, folks without jobs are soon to feel the effects of another kind of spirit: the evil, heartless kind that inspired House Republicans to allow extended job benefits to expire as of tomorrow. Before they went home last week to share the warmth and abundance of the holidays with their families, these legislators declined to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. That means that 1.3 million laid-off Americans - including 870,000 in Pennsylvania - will stop receiving the benefits that have enabled them to stave off hunger, homelessness and poverty while they continued their search for work.
December 18, 2013 |
THREE DAYS AFTER Christmas this year, 1.3 million laid-off American workers will see their unemployment benefits stopped. In Pennsylvania, the number will be 87,000 people drawing their last check on Dec. 28. "If my wife loses her benefit before she finds a job, we lose our house. " - Philadelphia resident These are working people caught in the worst economic crisis in more than 70 years, one that will not end. Unemployment in Pennsylvania is still 7.5 percent with 485,000 people officially unemployed.
November 26, 2013
Congressional inaction could put more obstacles in the path of the already slow economic recovery. If lawmakers don't extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, $25 billion in benefits - money that tends to be quickly spent on rent, food, and other necessities - would be ripped out of the economy. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the program is a highly effective antirecession measure. An estimated 1.3 million long-term-unemployed Americans are expected to lose the emergency benefits in December if Congress doesn't act. Another 850,000 could join them before next spring.
October 10, 2013 |
Local investment firms have been taking frantic calls from clients lately asking whether the sky is falling. And no wonder: The U.S. debt ceiling has yet to be lifted, threatening default on government bonds; Congress failed to act to end a government shutdown, which has stretched into its second week; and yet stocks have been on a tear not seen in decades. Most are advising investors to stay the course - and in truth, there's very little to do other than to panic, sell everything, and go to cash.