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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

WaPo on Unemployment Benefits

by Calculated Risk on 3/09/2010 12:50:00 PM

A few factoids from Michael Fletcher and Dana Hedgpeth at the WaPo: Are unemployment benefits no longer temporary?

  • About 11.4 million out-of-work people now collect unemployment compensation, at a cost of $10 billion a month. Half of them have been receiving payments for more than six months ...

  • States determine the amount of the benefits, but they average 36 percent of the average weekly wage, according to the National Employment Law Center.

  • Nearly two-thirds of the jobless collect unemployment benefits, which go only to those who have earned a certain amount of money in the previous year, and who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

    Note: The suggestion mentioned in the article that the unemployment rate is high because of unemployment benefits is off point: See Krugman's Supply, Demand, and Unemployment

    Another important benefit of unemployment insurance is that the benefits have helped keep many households in place. If there were no extended benefits, many of the 5+ million people now receiving extended benefits would be moving out of their homes or apartments, and doubling up with friends and relatives, or living in their cars or worse. Fewer households would increase the number of excess vacant housing units in the U.S. and exacerbate the housing crisis.