Unemployment Benefits Extension Stalls in Senate

Update Oct. 18: The Senate has come to the decision to modify the House bill to include all states, not just ones with unemployment rates greater than 8.5%. The change will come in the form of S. Amndt. 2668 to the House Bill, H.R. 3548 according to Open Congress blogger Donny Shaw.

In normal times, unemployment benefits last twenty-six weeks after someone loses their job. In normal times, it takes newly unemployed people less than 26 weeks to find a job… until today. But we aren’t in normal times. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the first time since 1948, when they started collecting this information, that the average time it takes to find a job is longer than the 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits.

The House of Representatives passed a bill last month (H.R. 3548) that would extend unemployment benefits in high-unemployment states by 13 weeks. The Senate is debating similar bills (S. 1699 was referred to committee) and the fight is over who gets benefits and how much.

S. 1699 would give an extra 13 weeks to states with unemployment rates higher than 8.5% funded by extending unemployment tax on employers.

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 Your Take 

Your Take: Is The Recession Over?

Recession BusterEarlier this week, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, said the recession was “very likely over” but that the unemployment rate would likely still go up. There’s a lot of talk about a “jobless” recovery, that is a recovery in which new jobs aren’t created, with the unemployment rate not falling back to the normal 5% for at least another four years. Bernanke specifically said that the recession was likely over from a technical perspective, which is to say that we’ll probably still feel like a recession even if we don’t have two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

So I wanted to know from you – do you think the recession is over? It’s one thing to look at “statistics” and declare victory, it’s another to look people in the eye and tell them that the recession is over.

Personally, I think that you can throw technical out the window because regular people don’t really care. Until people stop being afraid they’ll lose their jobs because of the economy, the recession isn’t going to be over. There have been a lot of positive things about this recession – Americans are repaying debt and saving more, frugality has made a resurgence, and there’s been a greater emphasis on emergency funds.

So… is the recession over?

(Photo: arvindgrover)


What To Do When You’re On Furlough

Updating ResumeIn this recession, companies are turning to furloughs, or unpaid leave, as a way to cut costs without cutting people. As you can imagine, being furloughed is never a good thing. Companies in good financial shape generally don’t furlough their staff, it’s usually companies that need to cut costs or are having difficulty with cash flow. It’s not uncommon for a company to furlough staff one week and then decide they need to have layoffs the next. While that’s not always the case, you plan for the worst and hope for the best.

So, what should you do when you’re on furlough?

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A Simple Guide to Surviving Unemployment

Fired: Scene of the Crime!You just lost your job; now what?

The instinctive path is to hit the newspapers and job boards, flooding resumes out to potential employers who might give you a chance. You might follow that activity by contacting recruiting firms to enlist them in your search. If this describes you here is some friendly advice—slow down!

We’re in a recession, a very nasty one by all accounts, and as much as you need a job, it’s important to recognize that you’ve joined a hunt that’s being undertaken by millions of others. This means competition, far more than we’ve seen in the past, and you’ll need to begin thinking long term. If you’ve been out of work for a while, you already know this.

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How To Get Job Working The 2010 U.S. Census

United States Census 2010If you’re out of work or looking to supplement your income, you might want to consider working for the U.S. Census Bureau to help collect the 2010 Census. According to CNNMoney, the 2010 Census will put 1.4 million people to work and projected to cost $14 billion, $212 million in advertising. If you want to make some extra cash and have the time, you might want to get the ball rolling on securing a job with the U.S. Census.

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How to Negotiate A Severance Package

Unemployed Storm TrooperA friend of mine was recently let go from her job of many years (she recently wrote about it in a two-part series, part one and part two). It’s been difficult watching the news and hearing about the millions of jobs lost in the last year but until one of your friends is fired, it really doesn’t sink in how weak our economy is. It’s one thing to see your 401(k) lose value, an account I can’t touch for forty years, it’s another to see one of your friends lose their job.

The first thing that came to my mind was whether or not she could negotiate a better severance package. She explained that because her employer was a non-profit, she had no legal recourse. I was surprised but upon further research, I learned that there are no laws specifically covering severance. There are laws that cover unfair termination, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws, and severance is mostly seen as a way to placate employees so they don’t consider filing a lawsuit. However, despite this, you can still negotiate a severance package.

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Should You Take A Low Paying Job?

Hard Work Should Be LaudedMrs. Micah recently tackled the topic of whether or not it’s a good idea to take a low paying job (she phrased it differently, whether certain kinds of work are beneath you) and gave three arguments why it was a bad idea: it takes up valuable time while draining you of energy you should be using applying for jobs, they aren’t a true solution and could cause complacency, and the less-skilled job doesn’t look good on a resume.

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A Non-Working British Family

I got upset when I read this article about a non-working family in Britain. Actually, I was pretty pissed off to be honest.

The article talks about a 43 year-old woman who lives in a 2 bedroom council flat, which is the equivalent of low-income housing here in the United States, with three children and one grandchild. She doesn’t work and has never worked. The family has had some pretty terrible experiences recently, documented in the article, but my compassion wanes as I hear how they entered the situation.

These lines in the article changed my sentiment completely, which I’m sure you’ll pick out when you read the brief article:

  • … But she concedes that she doesn’t really know why she didn’t get a job, and that there was an element of just “not getting round” to it.
  • … She doesn’t think school wanted her to stay on because she “wasn’t too bright” and used to bunk off [not attend] a lot.
  • … Without any qualifications she assumed she wasn’t able to follow her chosen path and join the Army. She never actually made it to the recruitment office to ask.
  • … As no-one in the house is actively seeking work, they don’t count as “unemployed” and none claims Jobseeker’s Allowance [unemployment].
  • … “I’m sorry they have to pay tax money to me. If I could get a job… give me a job then and I’ll work, and then they won’t have to pay me.”

The lesson here is that you have to take control of your life. I don’t think she’s lazy but it just sounds like she didn’t try to do anything. She didn’t get a job, didn’t finish school, and all before the whole aspect of family came into play. I can understand not working or going to school to raise a family, but the reality is that none of the children work either! William, her son, was savagely attacked by local gang members, a situation that likely wouldn’t have happened had they not chosen to live in council housing in the first place.

The thing that gets me is that she didn’t even try. None of them did. There are plenty of stories of people who have tried and simply given up out of despair because of the economy. I have compassion for their situation because they’ve tried to change their situation. While this family doesn’t take unemployment (Jobseeker’s Allowance), they also aren’t taking any steps to improve their condition. The daughter sits at home all day.

Am I being too harsh? What do you think?

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