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UI job search graph
(Full-size version at Economic Policy Institute)

Here's a picture that's worth a thousand words. Unemployed people who were receiving unemployment insurance benefits were more likely to have engaged in five out of six ways of looking for work, according to a study (PDF) by Carl Van Horn and Cliff Zukin of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

From August 2009 to August 2011, Van Horn and Zukin tracked a group of people who had been unemployed at some point between September 2008 and August 2009, surveying them repeatedly to find out whether they were still unemployed, whether and how they were looking for work, and whether they were receiving or had received unemployment benefits, among other things. They found that people were looking hard to find jobs:

In the month before the survey was conducted, 76% of these unemployed workers applied for a job with an employer, 68% scoured newspaper job advertisements, 66% examined online job boards, 59% contacted friends or family members about a job, and 57% sent an e-mail to a potential employer. Finally, 54% called a potential employer about a job. Six in ten unemployed workers reported that they had spent at least two hours looking for a job on three days of the previous seven-day week. One in four said they spent at least two hours looking for work on five days of the previous week. Despite their efforts to find employment, only 56% made it to a job interview. Of those who were interviewed for a job, the majority
had at least three or more interviews.

And, as the chart shows, people who received unemployment insurance were more, not less, likely to have called or sent an application or email to an employer, used an online job board, or looked at classified ads, while people who did not receive unemployment benefits were more likely to have contacted a friend or family member about a job. Add that to the pile of evidence weighing against Republican claims that jobless people are slackers and that unemployment benefits make people want to stay unemployed.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:45 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Imagine, having an income enables job search (7+ / 0-)

    Try being homeless with no phone or permanent address and looking for work. Try being broke and having to scrape together the cash for resumes, interview attire and gas (or bus fare) for all the running around you have to do.

    Seriously, without an income, how are people supposed to look for work at all? Most employers frown on hiring employees who haven't had a shower in weeks. No income, no housing, no shower, no job.

  •  In Illinois, it's a requirement. (5+ / 0-)

    One of the questions they ask when you certify for benefits is if you actively looked for work that week. You also need to keep a written record of your work search for each week, as IDES can request it. If you aren't actively looking for work - no benefits for you.

    I am guessing it's the same in other states.

    Yes we can! Yes we did! Yes we will!

    by Sister Havana on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 01:57:58 PM PST

    •  Yes, same inTexas (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sister Havana, Odysseus, lonespark

      It aeems to have some kind of judgment or discretion, but I must show 5 work search efforts each week.  A colleague, in the same line, very similar work history, has been out of work for over a year, but only has to show 3 efforts per week.  Go figure.

       'Course, the Texas Workforce Commission is also the organization that e-mailed me the following flyer:

      Williston, North Dakota has had the largest oilfield boom.  Halliburton, Hess, Continental Resources, and Whiting Petroleum are the major companies hiring on or Job Service North Dakota.
      Hair salons, pharmacies, banks, hospitals, gas stations, bars and clothing stores are also desperately looking for employees.

      Unemployment rate = 1.5%
      Job openings = 2500
      Average salary = $57,000+ annually
      Fast food jobs = $15.00 per hour

      Boomtown bullsh*t, with no housing.

      Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

      by tom 47 on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 02:30:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Florida, too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allergywoman, nextstep

      I was on unemployment back in 1995, and had to submit a job search report each week. That hasn't changed. And to blow up another Republican myth - that people on unemployment turn down jobs until they get one they really want - you will also lose your benefits if you refuse any job offer. While on unemployment here in Fla., I turned down a job in Montana because I was being considered for a job just over a mile from my home. I had to go through a hearing to determine why I turned down the job or risk losing my benefits.

      I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

      by ObamOcala on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:16:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It Is Required (0+ / 0-)

      But that's not why they look for work so hard, if you've been in the workforce and find yourself out of, I don't care what you might have done, it's not a place you want to be, you want right back in and not living by doing nothing, for most it at least makes it seem you're working and trying to accomplish something!!!!!!!

      Self Respect!!!

      CCR:"If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

      by jimstaro on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:25:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looking for work is expensive. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, lonespark

    Transportation, work clothes. Guess the Rethugs want perspective employees to walk thru the door in rags & barefoot.

    If there's a reason for the rich to rule, please Lord, tell us why. -Battle of Jericol, Coal Mining Woman

    by JayRaye on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 02:18:28 PM PST

  •  It makes me so mad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, lonespark, Sister Havana

    to hear these conservative idiots saying that collecting unemployment benefits makes people lazy. I worked harder when I was unemployed than I ever did at a job. I was CONSTANTLY looking for work, went through training to update my computer skills (thank you, Big Government) and volunteered at the local hospital doing desktop publishing work. Then I worked for a temp agency – they  had their own training tutorials which helped me out even more than the government-paid training. Finally, I got hired by the company that had bought out my last employer for half the pay. What a letdown. But at least it was a job.

  •  ...Duh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sister Havana

    But of course it's always good to get the data.

    Unemployment doesn't buy much, but the amount of childcare, transportation, etc. it buys is pretty significant.  And I also found it cut down on the amount of time I needed to spend looking for super-cheap clothes and food for my family, so it freed up my time in that way, too.

    Oh, and it can buy tickets to memberships and meeting tickets for professional societies.  And those very important Interview Suits.  And dry cleaning.  And...

    I would like to write an op-ed or letter to the editor about all the local businesses my UI and foodstamps support.

    "As scientific knowledge advances, it does not mean that religious knowledge retreats." - horse69 on the bnet recon C&C board

    by lonespark on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:37:01 AM PST

  •  The problem with the people creating laws (0+ / 0-)

    Is they are far less likely to know people getting UE benefits legitimately. They are also far more likely to believe the worst in human nature because by nature, they seem to be people who believe that those who do the least amount to gain the most wealth are the most valuable among us do to the company they keep, so it shades their view of others.

    There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

    by Irixsh on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:05:41 AM PST

    •  Some changes are needed in UE rules (0+ / 0-)

      In my opinion, one change that has to be made in getting UE insurance is the rule that people don't have to take any job that doesn't offer what they made in their previous job.

      If someone wants to disagree that this is the case, I will apologize for being wrong here.  But, mind you, I have knowledge on this in my state from two very close individuals that are currently on unemployment.

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:33:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  On a macro level, that is actually a really bad (0+ / 0-)

        idea. What you create in that case is a further degradation of wage standards for everyone. First, you allow employers to basically utilize layoffs to collude in lowering wages for certain functions. And when the overqualified people take jobs at lower wage scales/responsibility, then those jobs are also no longer available to the people who would have taken those jobs. So in reality, you don't help unemployment, you don't help the development of experienced employees but you might save a couple bucks (that you then lose in tax base due to lowering wage scales).

        There are only 2 things in life I believe about religion: There could be a God and I'm sure as heck not him.

        by Irixsh on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:46:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, that's how this was enacted (0+ / 0-)

          I do understand the "reasoning" for how this came about, of course.  Your comment is the very reason for the "rule" that folks on unemployment don't have to take any job that doesn't pay what the UE person had before becoming unemployed.  It just seems it limits UE job searchers and makes it more difficult for people to get off the unemployment rolls.  

          It's a double-edged sword, so to speak.

          - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

          by r2did2 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:17:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Since when does GOP let facts get in the way of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGrandWazoo, allergywoman

    a nice narrative?

    •  They don't, unless they are unemployed them- (0+ / 0-)

      selves, or afraid that they will be soon.

      I'm talking, or course about the voters, not the party officials.  Their behavior is understandable, given that they have a 24 hour propaganda machine aimed at them.

      Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

      by TheGrandWazoo on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:19:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A system where fewer and fewer people work to (0+ / 0-)

    support increasing numbers of the unemployed is unsustainable in the long run.  Is the idea to have unemployment insurance last for 5 years, 10 years, or forever?  Because the usual jobs are never coming back.  Period.  Now, I agree that unemployed people need the basics, but they should do some work while unemployed to earn that money.  Just for their self respect.  Maybe they shouldn't work a full 40 hour week, maybe they should work for 10 hours, or 20 hours per week and use the rest of the time to seek better employment.  And what should they do?  What should have been implemented by our clueless President in the first place, in his first week in office, an FDR type jobs program.  We need to fix our infrastructure and there are plenty of people that are unemployed that could help.  And feel good about doing so.  And those of us that pay the bills could feel good too.  

    •  There are 8,000 bridges ready to collapse at any (0+ / 0-)

      moment, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.  That's a lot of jobs in a lot of Congressional Districts making a lot of people feel safer (and a lot of companies with long supply chains more financially secure).

      Unfortunately, the Republicans, not President Obama, are blocking every effort to build necessary infrastructure.

      The next  highway and transit bill is currently being crafted by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, the Senate Banking Committee, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, with the funding elements in jurisdiction of House Way & Means, Senate Finance, and to a certain extent, the Appropriations Committees of both chambers.

      Matching the bridges to constituents in the States and Congressional Districts of the these members is not hard.  A combination of grass roots delegations (easy to organize in home district offices, please see my post on this) combpost on thisfew calls from major business dependent on big supply chains (read Wal-Mart) would create a lot of pressure.

      It really shouldn't take much to push just this.  After all, if there were evidence that 8,000 terror attacks on these structures were pending, Congress would act at the speed of light.

      Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

      by TheGrandWazoo on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:35:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  After UI the still unemployed may become disabled (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Link between exhausting unemployment insurance and disability claims

    Many poor Americans seek Social Security disability payments as a financial life preserver when their unemployment benefits begin expiring, preliminary research by two economists shows.

    The findings, released by the Obama administration Thursday, are based on interviews with unemployed workers for a study conducted by White House Council of Economic Advisers Director Alan Krueger and Andreas Mueller of Columbia Business School. Mr. Krueger recently joined the White House from his post teaching economics at Princeton University.

    The findings offer a new window both into the struggles of the poor and the growing financial strain of one of the country’s largest entitlement programs.

    Their research found that close to 10% of Americans between the ages of 50 and 65 who didn’t have access to at least $5,000 applied for Social Security disability benefits by the time their unemployment benefits were set to expire. The percent of this group seeking the benefits rose precipitously in the weeks leading up to the exhaustion of benefits, as it was below 1% with 50 weeks left in unemployment benefits.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:18:10 AM PST

    •  Hmmmm..... (0+ / 0-)

      No one has a problem helping the disabled.  However, I'm thinking that most Americans aren't in favor of people duping the system by applying for disability if they aren't truly disabled.  Hopefully that's not what's happening.  

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:36:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It takes an extraordinary body and mind... (0+ / 0-) weather the loss of a job, long term unemployment, get to the end of your unemployment insurance, and not feel devastated, not to have had medical problems escalate if for no other reason but the peak of stress, and the reasonable likelihood of insufficient nutrition, rest, and medical care. As it says in the bible, a broken spirit breaks the bones.

        Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

        by kck on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:00:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  All true (0+ / 0-)

          But, it doesn't speak to my post.  

          - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

          by r2did2 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:13:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let me clarify then. (0+ / 0-)

            Surely most Americans aren't in favor of people duping the system by applying for disability, or gaming any social or corporate welfare programs, for that matter.

            But the SSDI agencies are notoriously adept at delaying or denying the truly disabled for fear of waste, fraud, and abuse.  

            I may also hope people are not gaming the system, of course, but it's just not the first concern I would think of given the circumstances. Being at the end of one's rope is disabling in every sense of the term.


            Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

            by kck on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:35:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But, this is not the criteria (0+ / 0-)
              Being at the end of one's rope is disabling in every sense of the term.

              That absolutely cannot be a deciding element in getting government/taxpayer-paid disability.  

              - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

              by r2did2 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:54:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  who said they aren't disabled? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I have several disabilities and I still work, but I only get by because of strong union protections which allow me extended leaves when I have flareups or need procedures. Without those i would be let go; and no new employer is going to hire me in this condition, nor can I work at a job where I have to come in during flareups. Simply put, if i lose my current job, i will be going on disability. Disabled doesn't just mean you are incapacitated; it can also mean you can't put in 12 hour days in a high pressure environment, and most jobs today are high pressure. Also, i cannot do physically demanding labor, as I'm sure many people in their 50 and 60's cannot either. I think a lot of these people were working as best they could, with high BP, diabetes, kidney problems, heart problems, cancer, RA, lupus, MS or any one of hundreds of diseases ( 1 in 10 people gets a rare condition; 1 in 8 cancers are rare cancers )

    •  When times are good (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftangler, kck

      people who may be considered marginally disabled (and some even severely disabled) can find work. When times get rough, its even harder for them to find work than it is for the non-disabled. So they apply, and may qualify for Social Security disability and/or SSI.

      "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

      by vgranucci on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 10:51:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  To what extent are the unemployed and those (0+ / 0-)

    on the verge of being unemployed being recruited at the grass-roots level by Democrats, or at least by voter-registration groups in general?

    I don't see a lot about voter registration at Occupy encampments, have I just missed it?  

    How can we help to up the pace of registration?

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:22:17 AM PST

    •  Occupy camps? (0+ / 0-)

      These folks aren't about "recruiting" and getting involved in any kind of partisan politics...with some exceptions, of course.

      Don't look to OWS for this.  That's not their bag.

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:28:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans Always Lie Proven Right Again. (0+ / 0-)

    News at ten.

    "This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:26:46 AM PST

  •  Paranoid thought: Since those who have been un- (0+ / 0-)

    employed for long enough to stop collecting benefits stop being counted in the official unemployment reports, could the Republicans be banking on the idea that, if they get rid of unemployment benefits, the unemployment rate will seem to go down?

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 09:38:32 AM PST

  •  Right wingers hurling insults (0+ / 0-)

    at the unemployed is just their way of distracting the public away from themselves as the real culprits for high unemployment. Don't blame us for the failures of 30+ years of pee-on (I mean, trickle down) economics! Blame yo-self!

    "Behind every great fortune is a great crime." - Honore de Balzac

    by mooremusings on Sat Dec 17, 2011 at 11:03:16 AM PST

  •  This really (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ought to be a "no shit, Sherlock" moment.

    When I had a job, but thought I could do better, I applied to maybe one job a week, if I found something I thought I could get or would pay me more.

    I've been on UI since September.

    I am only required by the state to provide 2 measly "job contacts" for a week to get paid. That means I have to tell them who I applied to/emailed my resume to/met with/etc for a job opportunity.

    Calculated out from, let's say Sept 7 to Dec 7, to be charitable, I could theoretically have met the benchmark for simply earning my weekly benefit by applying to roughly 20-odd jobs or so, if my math doesn't completely fail me, right?

    I have saved in an email folder for the employment commission 60 emails sent to prospective employers and/or auto-responses generated from company websites to applications I have put in.

    Some weeks, I have literally only been able to eke out 2, because the pickings are for, say, Nuclear Scientists which I have negative experience in.

    This week alone I've hit approximately 8 jobs, and was already rejected for one of them, so technically 7 still open.

    The conservatives are simply pretending that the idea of the lazy, good-for-nothing leech who sits on their ass all day, collecting "welfare" from the gubmint, which costs "hard-working Americans" their "tax dollars" while they bust their ass in a bajillion jobs a week just to provide all that private, presumably Christian education a week to their spawn, or something.

    No, you assholes. I collect UI because I have bills to pay, and if someone called me today and told me to start work tomorrow, you have no idea how quickly I would jump at the opportunity to get back to work.

    They ignore people like me because I am an inconvenient counter-argument to their preferred set of talking points.

  •  Some of that is because they had better jobs (0+ / 0-)

    To begin with, so are used to having more money, so try harder to get it.

    Those that don't get unemployment to begin with, meaning those with lower paying jobs, can get totally discouraged when it comes to finding work. How much incentive is there to get a job where most of your money goes to getting to the job, and other expenses associated with the job. There is a point where working for a hundred or so a week is just not worth it.

    Better jobs = unemployment insurance
    Worse jobs do not = unemployment insurance

  •  You don't understand! (0+ / 0-)

    Lazy welfare and unemployment recipients are the "reality" that fits the Republican narrative, as is the self-made millionaire.  We wouldn't want actually reality to get in the way of a good self-serving story!  That the millionaire may have inherited the money or that they got it through questionable means - mortgage fraud, bootlegging, Wall Street shenanigans, drug dealing, gun running, price gouging or what ever, doesn't matter - in fact it is totally false - they got it through their own hard work and you are just jealous that you did not think of a profitable way to shaft your fellow man!  

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