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Recovery? What recovery?

10:29 am in Economy, Jobs by dakine01

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This morning (Sunday, April 8) I was at the laundromat here in beautiful downtown Ruskin, FL and picked up a copy of the local, Tampa area Jobs Finder free newspaper. I’m sure most all of you have seen these free papers for your local area.

As I skimmed this paper, it reinforced for me that there is no economic recovery, at least not in this part of Florida. When I picked the paper up, I noticed it was awfully skinny so I counted pages. Eight whole pages. With large ads covering each page so I counted up all the ads. Thirty-nine ads for 8 pages. Then I looked even closer. Two ads were for the paper itself. Another two ads were for “start your own cleaning company” services. Then I counted nineteen ads for various types of training programs. Not for jobs. For for-profit training programs that might, maybe, if you can afford it and complete it, maybe get you a minimum wage job if you can survive to complete the six month to a year plus training program being offered.

No ads for local delivery drivers. No handyman type ads. No manual labor/construction service ads. No help wanted for local businesses and restaurants. No ads for jobs for any of the thousands of job types one usually sees in these types of free newspapers.

Now granted, this is obviously anecdotal but I would wager that in a lot of parts of the country, this is the current norm. It isn’t much better with the ads on Craigslist or Monster or other online job search services. One of the metrics I use to check for job market improvements is the number of job ads from body shop/consulting services/head hunter agencies versus the number of ads from employers directly. My WAG is that the former ads are running nearly 10 to 1 over the latter. Businesses that are hiring directly are still able to be extremely picky about who they interview and hire.

But I guess we are not to worry. Everything must be getting better since the Beltway Village Idiots Pundits and Politicians seem to be in full pearl clutching mode after DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz went on CNN this morning and accused the Republicans of rooting for the economy to fail. Oh the horror of it all. Too bad that it seems to be beneficial to both parties to have the economy in doldrums. They all seem to forget that the 25M to 30M long term un and underemployed are each and every one, living, breathing, feeling human beings and not just statistics on the page full of numbers

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor

Unemployed Are Not the Reason Unemployment Funds Are Broke

11:03 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Government, Jobs, Media, Unemployment by dakine01

OK. I guess technically the title is not true. If folks hadn’t been laid off and collected Unemployment Compensation, the funds would just be sitting in the various state coffers, unused. But the unemployed are not the reason the economy tanked; the unemployed are not the ones sending jobs overseas; the unemployed are not the ultimate root cause of the problem.

Michigan started things back in March but has since been followed by Missouri and now Florida. (Other states may have done so as well, these three are the ones I know for sure have done this.) Florida’s new law actually goes beyond Michigan and Missouri, as bad as their laws are. Where MI and MO cut the maximum period for collecting state level unemployment compensation from 26 weeks to 20 weeks, Florida ties the benefits to the overall state unemployment rate. Via the Tampa Tribune article linked above:

TALLAHASSEE — Out-of-work Floridians would receive fewer state benefits while businesses pay less tax under a controversial proposal approved Friday by a divided Legislature.

The deal, which Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign into law, immediately cuts unemployment benefits by 11.5 percent.

Jobless Floridians would continue to receive a maximum payment of $275 per week, among the lowest of any state in the country. But they would be paid for no more than 23 weeks, instead of 26.

…snip…

The bill also creates a sliding scale that cuts and adds weeks of benefits based on the unemployment rate. Unemployment compensation would drop to as low as 12 weeks if the average unemployment rate drops to 5 percent or lower. A week would be added for every 0.5 percent the jobless rate climbs.

I can guarantee you that the newly unemployed person is not going to give two shits to know that the overall state unemployment rate is X percent so the number of weeks of benefits are limited accordingly. All that newly unemployed person is going to see is s/he is out of work and the state supplied safety net is full of gaping holes. Annie Lowrey at Slate on Friday offered this analysis:

In March, Michigan became the first state to take an axe to its standard unemployment benefits, even though the state boasts one of the worst labor markets in the nation. The Republican government cut the number of state-sponsored, initial weeks from 26 to 20, effective in January. It said the state simply could not afford them: It owes the federal government $3.9 billion, borrowed to pay past unemployment benefits, and just cannot go further into the red. (Michigan and 48 other states have mandatory balanced-budget rules.)

For all the other states cutting back, the issue is inaction, rather than fiscal pressure. Some states needed to make a certain simple legislative fix to ensure that the federal government kept on kicking in its share of weeks of benefits—weeks of benefits already budgeted and paid for in Washington. A number of states failed to do so. So, on April 16, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin all lost 20 weeks of federal benefits, effective immediately. Missouri did on April 2 as well.
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