There are 12.5 million unemployed people still seeking work in the United States, and over 5 million of them have been looking for work for twenty-seven weeks or longer.
These are “the long-term unemployed,” and their prospects for finding employment or getting assistance are rapidly diminishing.The long-term unemployed now make up over 40 percent of all unemployed workers, and 3.3 percent of the labor force. In the past six decades, the previous highs for these figures were 26 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, in June 1983.
Instead of helping these folks weather the storm and find ways to re-enter the workforce, our nation is moving in the opposite direction. In fact, this past Sunday, 230,000 people who have been looking for work for over a year lost their unemployment benefits. More than 400,000 people have now lost unemployment insurance (UI) since the beginning of the year as twenty-five high-unemployment states have ended their Extended Benefits (EB) program.
What makes the denial of this lifeline all the more absurd is the reason for it. As Hannah Shaw, research associate at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), writes, “Benefits have ended not because economic conditions have improved, but because they have not significantly deteriorated in the past three years.” [...]
It is all the more alarming—as National Employment Law Project executive director Christine Owens testified in Congress this week—that older workers ages 50 and up are disproportionately represented in the ranks of the long-term unemployed. They made up over 29 percent of long-term unemployed workers in 2011, compared to just 26 percent in 2007. In 2011, more than 54 percent of older jobless workers were out of work for at least six months, and those high rates have continued into 2012. Owens noted that prolonged periods of unemployment can have a severe impact on older workers’ retirement prospects and later-life well-being.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003:
For those of you who suspected that the Department of Homeland Defense's color-coding scheme was a farce, reader Karen P sends in confirmation:
• 9.11.01: WTC And Pentagon Attacks (3,044 dead)
• 3.12.02: DHS's Homeland Security Advisory System established, alert set to Elevated
• 9.10.02: Alert changed to High
• 9.24.02: Alert changed to Elevated
• 4.11.02: Tunisian Synagogue Truck Bomb (20 dead)
• 5.8.02: Karachi Suicide Bomber (15 dead)
• 6.14.02: Karachi Car Bombing (11 dead)
• 10.6.02: French Tanker Bombing (1 dead)
• 10.12.02: Bali Bombing (185 dead)
• 11.28.02: Mombasa Bombing (15+ dead)
• 2.7.03: Alert changed to High
• 2.27.03: Alert changed to Elevated
• 3.17.03: Alert changed to High
• 4.16.03: Alert changed to Elevated
• 5.12.03: Riyadh Bombing (29+ dead)
• 5.16.03: Casablanca Bombing (41 dead)
• 5.20.03: Alert changed to High Sources: White House Reuters
In other words, the color-coding system is a crapshoot. Not even, because even a crapshoot gets it right occassionally.
Terrorists can strike when we're least prepared, that much is clear. So scrap this stupid "scare the people" gimmick once and for all. It's not doing anyone any good.