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Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by JamieG from Md

Thanks to cutbacks in nine states in the past three years and an end to federal extensions of the program in 2013, the percentage of out-of-work Americans receiving compensation from unemployment insurance is at its lowest level since the 1970s. According to a new study by Will Kimball and Rick McHugh at the Economic Policy Institute:

By December 2014, only 23 out of every 100 jobless workers were getting state UI benefits. Because there were federal benefit extensions in place in 1983 and 1984, this means that those exhausting UI benefits in 2014 had less protection from income loss than any cohort of jobless individuals exhausting state UI benefits for several decades. [...]

Compared with previous recessions, the U.S. labor market in 2014 is at a point in the recovery when we would expect benefit recipiency rates to fall from their peak levels. What stands out about the current low recipiency levels is the degree of their decline and the extremely low levels to which some individual states’ recipiency rates have fallen.

As the EPI authors note, this is a troubling development.

Though modest compared with programs in some other nations, the 80-year-old unemployment insurance program—initiated by the Social Security Act of 1935—is one of the most important reforms of the New Deal. The rationale for it is simple enough: It provides temporary income to help out-of-work Americans keep a roof over their heads and the electricity on until they can find another job; and, by providing cash to people who will spend it quickly out of necessity, it bolsters the economy in times of recession to help keep matters from getting worse.

The chart above shows percentages only for state compensation. Until recently, all the states provided 26 weeks of compensation to eligible jobless people. Since the 1950s, Congress has passed extensions during every recession and their aftermath. As the situation worsened during the Great Recession, the jobless in the worst-hit states could collect up to 63 additional weeks of compensation—a total of 99 weeks.

The Treasury paid for these extensions. Combined, the state and federal programs covered 65 percent of the unemployed workforce in 2010.

There's more below the fold.

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 at 10:53 AM PDT

So this is Full Employment?

by gjohnsit

Reposted from gjohnsit by JamieG from Md

  Economists at BNP Paribas declared that the US economy had reached full employment.
  Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, says the US has almost reached full employment.
   The Federal Reserve says that the unemployment rate can't go much lower without sparking inflation, fitting into the broad definition of full employment.
   The natural response by the Fed to full employment is to raise interest rates in order to cut the rate of economic growth.

 Well, if this is Full Employment then how come things still suck for so many?

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Reposted from The Antidote To Ayn Rand by JamieG from Md

For those of you who read my last diary about my battles with unemployment, and how I am trying to see the simple blessings in life...

...and for those who didn't; I want to let you know that I am still* unemployed.  I won't be able to respond until later tonight (I set this for autopub this AM).  Please leave comments, and please check out my book.

What I have encountered is a world where I have not used one postage stamp in my entire job search and resume blitz, a world of indeeds and lists of craig and monsters.  Man, the monsters...they're the worst.

Seriously, this is a dehumanizing experience, one of rejection and great voids, and also immense frustration as there are jobs that you know are perfect for you if you only could get in front of somebody, look them in the eye, and tell them about yourself.

It is a world where it is professionally acceptable to not call people back, to not acknowledge people, to not respond after they have been rejected and want feedback on their interview performance.  It is the classic manifestation of the coldness of business, where that legal line dictates no exposure of liability for the company in dealing with job applicants.  And yet, they will give you a required e-form to tell them - well before they even start considering your application in the slightest - if you are a man or woman, a vet, disabled, or recently on SNAP or some other PA.

I copy n' paste the email address, craft wisely, append, and thus apply again to a listing to discover that, once again, my resume isn't sufficient, and I have to spend 20 minutes again entering everything that is on my resume into tiny boxes. Then comes the psych assessment, whose questions I know so well already, that purports to judge how you are as a teammate, if you are violent, or whateverthefuck they wanna think you are or might become in your unholy future.

I click through to apply to another listing to discover that they want my social security number and pretty much all of my personal information except my bank account.

My bank account is what I was asked to supply for purposes of direct deposit of course, after I was supposedly hired as a QA Manager sight unseen with nary an interview by some outfit in Colorado that was gonna send me 1300 a month to inspect and reship boxes of electronic equipment at home.  I didn't, and they never sent me a check or anything to inspect.  Just a contract and an NDA.

An NDA is what I was forced to sign when I was signed up by this other guy who wanted MBA's.  I did get great practice on participating in conference calls, and meeting deadlines and using Dropbox.  Not to mention practice at writing business plans.  I was really using my MBA for the first time in many years!! Of course I am still waiting for the promised paycheck for that work.

I fill out one application and am asked for seventyfive bucks to be allowed to view their job listings.

I fill out some other application with all of my personal information thinking I am applying to teach management and leadership at an online unversity...only to have my tv watching interrupted for the next few days by telemarketers who think that I want to enroll at an online university.  And to add insult to audacity, the telemarketers work some third-party independent firm.  Not even the fucking school.

That is a pretty good description of the last 5 months of my life, sans my interview experiences.  I am getting damn good at interviewing, if I do say so myself.  If anyone is interested, I would like to post a diary about interview tips in the near future.  I am hardly a professional job-seeking advisor, but I do have a degree in psych and english, and an MBA...and lots of experience on both sides of the interview desk.

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Mon Mar 09, 2015 at 03:31 PM PDT

The phoenix cycle.

by ArchTeryx

Reposted from ArchTeryx by ArchTeryx

So I'm a pretty rare diary writer here on Daily Kos.  Most of my diaries haven't been about politics, after all; I'm much more of a science and nature writer, and we already have a superb scienceblogger in DarkSyde, and several very good diary writers handling the nature side of things.  I've occasionally blogged about my experiences as a STEM Ph.D. in long-term unemployment.

Originally, this diary was going to be about the end of my unemployment, a triumphant return, the Test Tube Phoenix finally reborn.  Instead, it's about setbacks, and perhaps a bit about the nature of hope.   If you can tolerate something of a rant, a bit of snark and maybe a few nuggets of wisdom, follow me below the orange puff of smoke (Yay!  A witticism someone else hasn't already used!) below.

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Wed Jan 21, 2015 at 03:05 PM PST

The unbearable burden of being poor

by BoiseBlue

Reposted from Le Bois de Bleu by JamieG from Md

It happens in every diary about SNAP or any other type of welfare: casual observations about a so-an-so someone saw in the store the other day, using their EBT card to buy [insert item that someone believes is inappropriate], so clearly, there are a lot of people out there sucking from the government teat!

While you pay taxes, they are buying beer with government benefits!

Or they left the store and hopped into an expensive car.

Or they're way too young to be needing government assistance.

Oh! The horror! The absolute horror that someone might be getting government assistance when they're not suffering sufficiently enough to earn your compassion.

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Reposted from side pocket by Most Awesome Nana

Recently there have been a series of diaries in response to a plea for help from TiaRachel:

Friday, Nov 14th: So. Um. I need some help. by TiaRachel.  This was the plea for help posted by Tia. We are trying to raise $7,000.00 to allow Tia a stable financial future.  Please help her as much as possible.  
Saturday, Nov 15th: There, but for the Grace.... An Appeal for Help, with a Match by Dallasdoc.
Sunday, Nov 16th: Aji for TiaRachel: When There Aren't Enough Spoons In the World: Helping a Friend Dig Out by Aji (posted on her behalf by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse).
Monday, Nov 17th: We Are Family...We Take Care of Our Own by JoanMar.
This diary continues the series, with two more to follow in the next two days. TiaRachel is in a bind. All too many folks are struggling financially or are facing health issues. She is facing both and can use some help. I won't go into detail here because following the links above will familiarize you with the situation. But I hope I can focus attention on her needs with some insight.

She is a long-time Kossack, having joined in November of 2004. She has written a remarkable 1089 diaries. Her familiarity to the community is probably based on the years of producing the TDS/TCR diaries, the last of which she posted on September 26 of this year. Perhaps that was a foreshadowing of recognition of trouble ahead.

There's such a spectrum of health and financial situations in the country at large and in our wonderful community here at Daily Kos. As the holiday season approaches and spending ramps up it's sometimes easy to ignore the reality of people's difficulties, especially for those of us who are on an even keel. And if you will excuse the metaphor, even on even keel, it only takes a small wave to tip a craft and start it sinking.

I noted one line from Aji's diary which jumped out at me: "It's what I expect in a culture where a lack of empathy is not merely institutionalized, but celebrated." That may be true in the culture at large but here in our community it is the opposite. I have been amazed and touched so often by what we have done in terms of financial and emotional support for members in times of need. Over 100 quilts have been created for Kossacks by Sara R, and as a matter of fact we recently were able to help Sara and her sister in their time of need. Many times I have seen that a contributor himself or herself is low in funds and promises to contribute "when a check or payment" arrives. Empathy right there.

So if you have a bit to share with TiaRachel it would be a good investment to do so in the next few days. It's an excellent thing to contribute to large charities and obviously to political campaigns but even a small contribution to her will help in a very direct and focussed way.

If you choose to use the option of obtaining her address for a mail contribution, be patient. I am awaiting her response for that very thing, as well as information on the up-to-date totals.

Thanks for reading. I love this community.

Fundraising Update

TiaRachel seems to be having connectivity issues today.  We wanted to let everyone know that as of this evening, the fundraising total stood at $3,330.00.  We are aiming for $7,000.00.

Thanks for your incredible generosity and also for making a difference in Tia's life.

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Reposted from Dallasdoc by Most Awesome Nana

Holiday season is upon us, and, as seems always to be the case, beloved friends are in trouble.  Our own TiaRachel has fallen on hard times:  her electric service has been cut off, she has no reliable Internet connection, and she is unable to pursue her work of writing.  

Her talent all of us can attest to.  Like so many of us, TiaRachel has health issues which make the current economic conditions we all face particularly difficult for her.  And with our new Congress, any help from our government seems further away than ever.  We need to depend on ourselves, our friends, our community in these benighted days.  And that's why I'm asking this big, generous community for your help.  She has already posted a plea for help, which some of us were able to catch and respond to.  But she needs more help, financial and otherwise.

TiaRachel needs at least $4500 to climb out of her current hole and begin again, at least for the time being.  Please consider dropping her a little help, if you're in a position to do so.  To get the ball rolling, I will match the first $250 in donations, so your contribution counts double!  If anyone else would like to make a matching pledge, please volunteer in the comments and I'll feature you up top here.  She's also mentioned help with possible job referrals in her diary cited above, and I know those would be appreciated as well.  And as always, Recommends to keep this diary visible are great, as are expressions of love and good will for our dear TiaRachel.

Please Help TiaRachel

If you've never used PayPal to send money to anyone, it is really simple.

  • Go to You do not have to have an account to send money.
  • Click Send Money to Family and Friends.
  • Enter TiaRachel's email address (which is and amount you are sending.  The sender's name is visible to the recipient
  • If you'd rather send a check in the mail, you can Kosmail TiaRachel to get her mailing address.

Here is the plea for help posted yesterday morning by TiaRachel - So. Um. I need some help.  Please help her as much as possible.  Tip/rec this diary.  Republish to your Daily Kos Groups.  Link to your Facebook pages.  Tweet to your friends.  Many thanks.

Please donate via Paypal gift to  And let us know how much you've helped, so we can keep track and match you.  Don't be shy to tell us you've stepped up!
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Reposted from mooremusings by JamieG from Md

Much has been made about America's recent positive job growth and shrinking unemployment rate, all pointing to signs of a slow, but steady economic recovery. However, the so-called "recovery" continues to pass so many Americans by, including this gentleman from Rhode Island, Brian Perry, recently profiled in this Los Angeles Times article:

By his count, Perry has applied for more than 1,300 openings and has had some 30 interviews, the last one a good two years ago. With his savings running dry, this summer he put up for sale his one asset — a three-bedroom house his parents used to own in this suburb of Providence.

"I'm not looking for pity, just one last opportunity," said Perry, a boyish-looking man with bright blue eyes and a nasal New England brogue.

Mr. Perry is not just among the long-term unemployed, he's among the portion of the population called the "super long-term unemployed" - people who have been out of work for more than two years. The article states that Labor Department figures show about a third of the long-term unemployed have been in this situation that long, and a minority - 100,000 - have been out of work for five years or longer. This is disastrous, especially for a country that prides itself as "the land of opportunity" and upward mobility.

I can certainly relate to Mr. Perry's plight. Nearly 10 years ago, I left a job as a newspaper reporter in central California because of health and other reasons, and moved back home to Los Angeles. Since then, I've only worked part-time jobs or volunteered, until earlier this year, when I got my first full time job in nearly a decade. That was a job working on a political campaign, and unfortunately, it lasted only four months, because the candidate did not make the general election. So, I'm back sending out resumes. Despite three degrees, I've gotten mostly rejections or silence from potential employers, even for civil service jobs.

The fact is, the United States is not producing enough good-paying jobs with benefits for everyone who wants one. The unemployment rate where I live, Los Angeles County, is still a relatively high 8.1%. So, I've felt locked out of this economy for years. And it's very hard to get excited by "good numbers" jobs stories when you're on the outside looking in.

Reposted from word. by JamieG from Md

Like, what the literal fuck?

So, at 9:30am today, as I am getting ready to go to work, I get a call from my boss saying "We decided to close our Liberty Street location today, so take the day off." I was really taken aback by this, so all I said was "uh, okay?" and he hung up.

A little later, I text messaged him asking "hey, just curious -- any particular reason why we are closing the store today?" and his response "We are thinking of making it permanent, the only location that is profitable is (the other location our owners own). So I am trying to convince (the owner of the company) to close down the Liberty location."

I knew the axe was coming at some point, but it sort of stings to get the news via text message. I still don't know what the final decision is, and quite frankly, I don't care. I have been frantically putting in applications for 2 weeks. Because I saw the writing on the wall a while ago.

I am frustrated and upset, this has been one of the worst jobs I have ever had. They fucked with my schedule, made me feel worthless as a person, disregarded my suggestions, hired a person over me when I had more experience, and now they are "thinking" of closing my store. This is my life you are fucking with. The meager 800 dollars a month I make from this job is keeping my fiancee and I afloat financially. And now you just casually text me and say that its all about to go down the fucking toilet?

Thats the life of a minimum wager. Boss man give, boss man taketh away. Fact of the matter is, at any time, at any moment, most of us are a heartbeat away from extreme poverty, homelessness. It shouldn't be like that. We deserve as much job security as someone in one of the "skilled" positions. We are human beings, not fucking trash.

Living like this is awful.

Edit: Just filed for unemployment insurance.

Edit 2: They are closing my store. The scheduling at the other location is going to be "variable" they are literally going to make my schedule, and the schedules of all the other workers on a 24 hour basis.

I haven't yet figured out if they are just playing mind games to avoid using the word "layoff" and instead make me so frustrated that I quit or if this genuine.

Edit 3: Just got off the phone with UI. They said that if I quit I have to claim a week and said I refused potential work. My claim would then go on hold for 3 weeks while an investigation takes place. Now, some commenters have pointed out that there is a "Good cause" exception to the "no refusing work" rule in certain states. One of the good cause exceptions is losing 25% of your hours (in Washington)

I am in Oregon and I was going through the UI handbook and I can't find the good cause exception for the life of me anywhere in it.

To recap: here is my situation --

My home store is closing. My schedule is becoming a fully variable schedule in which I am informed only hour in advance of when I am supposed to work. From the time I was hired I went from full time (actually over 40 hours a week) to part time (about 20), then extreme part time (less than 15 hours) and now finally, fully variable.

My thing is the scheduling they are doing now is going to wreak havoc on my life, I will never be able to plan for interviews or application hunting to find other work. I will never truly know how many hours I will get.

My question -- if this job becomes a nuisance to my job hunt, can I quit and claim the good cause exception. If someone who knows Oregon UI law and regulation can help out, I would greatly appreciate it. All the call center representative said was yes there are certain exceptions to the "no refusing work" rule, but she didn't provide me a list. She said they were somewhere in the guidebook but didn't tell me a page. If you can help me find the rule, it would be awesome. Thank you.


Edit 4: Okay -- Action plan is to stay with them even if it is 1 hr a week until I get another job. Thats fine. Thank you for all your help dkos!

Reposted from Daily Kos by Most Awesome Nana Editor's Note: Just to get more eyes on this. -- Most Awesome Nana
Tombstone with three spaces for writing saying poor, also poor, and yep, poor.
You've heard the arguments before: the poor are lazy, they think something is owed to them and on and on and on. Those who blame the poor for being poor and for dragging the economy down all use the same tired arguments. The protagonist you're debating uses anecdotal evidence and personal stories of hardship and how they were able to pull through a particularly hard time without government assistance, or how they were turned down for assistance because they made too much money on unemployment or some other reason (code for they did not get assistance because they are white).

These arguments don't come from just the right side of the political spectrum; no, it comes from the left as well. Those who live in poverty make a great punching bag for anyone slightly more fortunate. Work in a minimum wage job? It's your fault you're still working in a job meant for teenagers. My personal favorite? If you can't afford kids, you shouldn't have them (this is usually pointed towards minorities). Can't get a decent job? Go back to school and get your degree. Have a kid? The father never sticks around (while it's unsaid this is often pointed at African-Americans). Homeless? You chose to be homeless—if you'd quit drinking, you could get a job. And they all just sell their SNAP cards.

Every one of those poor-bashing arguments is a myth, as you can see below the fold.

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Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 11:39 AM PDT

Debtor's Prison: A New Reality?

by steve1960

Reposted from steve1960 by Most Awesome Nana Editor's Note: Republished because the unemployed are at great risk. -- Most Awesome Nana

Making the case that American capitalism oppresses the white middle class was a tough sell back when I was a wee lad. For one thing, the thirty five percent of the American workforce that belonged to a union (and most of the rest who experienced the obvious "knock on effect" of a union scale wage) would strongly disagree. Today the story is much different. Such looming threats to the US middle class as predatory lending, union busting, changes in the bankruptcy laws that favor creditors, higher regressive local taxation and the shipping of jobs overseas all pale in comparison to the one only beginning to rear its ugly head: debtors prison!  In all honesty, people aren't actually sent to prison specifically for unpaid debts. But more and more are being sent for "violating a court order" to pay or for simply failure to appear in court when being sued for debt repayment. A report by popular radio show host, Thom Hartmann contained these harrowing lines;

Debtors’ prisons haven’t officially been used in America since before the Civil War. But today, a third of the states in the country allow debt collectors to use the public court system to go after people who owe them money. So, rather than being thrown in jail for specifically owing money, Americans are thrown in jail for not showing up to court hearings or not paying legal fines stemming from their debts.  There’s even a law in Arkansas that allows landlords to throw tenants in jail if they're late on their rent. According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, hundreds of tenants in Arkansas who’ve fallen on hard times and can’t pay their rent are taken to court and sometimes jailed. So, in a roundabout way, the debtors prisons have returned to America.
Hartmann brought this up in the course of addressing a twenty year old phenomenon; the rapid growth of private household debt which actually exceeded US GDP by the time of the Great Recession/Financial Crash of 2008. His point was that such debt was the real threat to the US economy and not public debt or federal deficits which actually stimulate the national economy. The reason is that private debt is not only larger, it slows consumer spending as households deleverage causing recessions and making recovery more difficult. The point, of course, is that no one ever expected debtors prison to be a solution!
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Reposted from word. by JamieG from Md

So, it has been a couple of days since I graduated, and entered the job market. The last time I found myself drowning in the sea of rejection, over-blown egotism and scam artists was a few years ago, before I graduated from community college and the university that I, up until very recently, attended without fail for 5 years. During that time, I elected to not be employed and focus on my grades, and building the skills necessary to move on to graduate school. I also took one year off from college -- partly because I wanted to try to get into law school (which I succeeded, but because I did terribly on the LSAT, I got no funding and cannot afford it), but that fell through -- and partly because I think it is necessary to take a year off and find out what Grad programs align with my research interests (sociology of law, globalism, and political economy roughly). During this time that I am starting in my life, I also wanted to hone some employable skills so and accrue some fresh employment/volunteer experience.

In short, it has been a long time since I was in the job market. The last time, without my high and mighty degrees, I found myself drowning in a sea of despair. I had just dropped out of college, I had a pile of debt and 48 credit hours to show for it, and no recent job experience. This was during 2010, and the job market in Salem, Oregon back then, was quite frankly, shit.

Day in and day out, I applied for hundreds of jobs and had only a handful of calls, and maybe 2 or 3 interviews to show for it.

There is a certain breaking down of someone's soul that is associated with being rejected literally hundreds of times over the course of 4 or 5 months. It is heart breaking, crushing, and confusing all at the same time. Feelings of inadequacy and helplessness rush through you from time to time -- and knowing that your spouse is the only thing that is preventing you from being on the street is even worse. I wasn't working for lack of trying, I spent tons of time looking for work, honing my resume, up-selling myself. I remember perusing craigslist for hours and desperately waiting by my land line for one call, any call. It was maddening.

I only mention this because it serves as a backdrop for my feelings of anxiety and trepidation going into the job market this time. I have had nightmares about this moment in my life for 3 years, ever since that summer that I desperately looked for work. I buried it in my studies -- the frantic drive to meet deadline, the late nights reading a book, the 1 o'clock political science cram sessions -- but somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that I would have to face those feelings, and what I consider a personal failure to find a job.

And now, here I am. I'll be honest, that whole "Wait and align my research interests" is just a cover, I failed the LSATs, I tanked miserably. I thought I was going to go to law school, I have a 3.8 GPA, I studied for hours on the LSAT. I was testing in the mid 155s. I got a 143, and it crushed my dreams. Luckily, after that, I took a few more law classes (offered as poli sci courses at my university) and decided that law school was not right for me. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of critical deadlines for sociology grad programs in my futile quest to fulfill a childhood dream and become a lawyer. I realize now that I would have needed a year anyway, to really develop my grad school app to get more funding, but still I can't help but feel I am retrofitting an excuse to cover my failure.

In the meantime, I must find a way to make money, which means finding a job. I have applied for many so far, and what I have found in the job market (at least online) here in Salem is absolutely appalling. Scam artists fill job listing websites, waiting to get your information and start spamming you, not to mention waste your time and get your hopes up about a potential job. There are "commission only" jobs that sound sort of like pyramid schemes that an unemployed person around here has to look out for. Jobs where you have to pay for a bunch of stuff just to start working. There are all sorts of ways an unemployed person can be taken advantage of, especially those of us who have been out of work for a while.

Which leads me to my next point: many, many applications require exorbitant amounts of experience directly in the field for what seem to be entry level positions. There is absolutely no reason to require 2+ years of direct experience in something your own company calls an entry level job! How else to people get experience other than someone gave them a chance and hired them without experience!

And then, there is the rejection. I know, that is life. That is the game we all play. But there is something so personal about being rejected, even if I know it is going to happen. It just hurts, and to hear it and see it day after day after day, it must be...crushing. I sympathize with all of my long term unemployed brothers and sisters out there. I have been there, I have done it, and quite honestly, it is the most dispiriting thing I have ever experienced in my life. Maybe I am just a sheltered 1st worlder who has never experienced true pain, but to me, being rejected that many times was extremely dehumanizing. Now that I find myself in the sea of the labor market once again, I can't help but wonder if I am chasing a shadow, like during the five months of hell in spring-summer 2010.

Or perhaps I am on the verge of a breakthrough.

In the interim...I am broke, I live with my fiancee's parents. I worry that I am once again facing long term unemployment. The stuff that coffee fueled, sweaty stress dreams are made of.

I dunno why I am telling you all this, guess I am just stressed out an need to vent. Thanks for listening.

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