Paul Davidson of USA Today has a feature story about how record low job numbers are due in part to the hurdles states have enacted to get unemployment benefits.
The article describes how only around 60% of those eligible for unemployment benefits are applying, down from the 75% portion “during the last two economic expansions in the late 1990s and mid-2000s.” Such obstacles are a main reason why low unemployment rates have not led to an increase in wages for working folk.
Besides folks not receiving the unemployment benefits due them, the article notes, the perception of the nation’s economic health is also being distorted.
The upshot: The economy is in good shape, but not that good. The low share of laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits also raises concerns about the social safety net in coming years as the economy shows early signs of wobbling. The stock market has retreated from its October peak, oil prices have tumbled and General Motors announced about 14,000 layoffs last week. Many economists predict a recession in 2020.
In other words, during this economic boon(?), there is actually more unemployment not showing up in the economic measurements. And so, this unmeasured unemployment is leading to less unemployment benefits being paid out to folks and to downward pressure on wages.
Jake’s blog runs through the numbers of the proposed jobs package and finds a much more efficient and far-reaching method for helping the affected workers:
OK, you’re concerned about the people losing their jobs? Why don’t we put together a package that says all of the 610 workers that lose their jobs are eligible for $1,000 a week for the next year (or full salary, whichever is less) – basically a state severance. That would give plenty of time for those individuals to land on their feet with little change in their quality of life. Maximum cost for 1 year? $31.7 million, less than 1/3 of what the total K-C bailout would cost.
I’m sure the workers would take this deal in a heart beat when compared to the proposed bailout package that pads the coffers of an already highly profitable company.
There is more here about property taxes and other facets of the bailout. But, these job numbers are the meat and potatoes of this package. Rather, the corporate welfare is what this bailout is really about.
But, don’t think too hard about this bailout. That will only lead to thinking about the “jobs” at issue with the FoxConn bailout that is already in play. Yikes.
Jake’s blog is providing excellent analysis of DWD’s job numbers. So, see his September review of the “gold standard” job numbers and his examination of an ALEC report that tries to claim Wisconsin is doing better than Minnesota (short answer: Minn. is doing better).
As Jake writes:
I know administrations of all parties try to put a positive face on how things are going in their state/country. But when that crosses the line into blatantly dishonest campaign cheerleading that can be taken apart with 30 minutes of googling the source data, I get offended. And there are few more defining characteristics of the Walker Administration than offensive cynicism at taxpayer expense.