For years (if not decades) the GOP has claimed that unemployment benefits is a disincentive for the jobless to look for work. But soon, millions of these "lazy" Americans will lose their jobless benefits. So, should we expect many more people to suddenly start finding jobs?
By way of the Republicans' theory of economics, within the next 26 weeks, more than 3.7 million Americans will start looking for work (and finding jobs) when their unemployment benefits run out (those who currently file State and extended Federal claims, according to the Department of Labor). Just a little more than 1/3 of the unemployed receive jobless benefits, but the Republicans have not as yet properly explained why the other two thirds of the "reported" unemployed haven't also been looking for work, or finding jobs.
The government emphasizes, and the mainstream media usually uses, the U-3 rate when reporting the unemployment rate --- which is currently at 7% with 10.9 million Americans out of work.
Using this methodology and these numbers, according to the Department of Labor, there are almost 3 Americans unemployed for every 1 job opening.
But by using the broader measure unemployment (the U-6 rate or the U-7 rate) to include people who are no longer attached to the labor force (e.g. the "marginal attached", including "discouraged workers") and part-time workers who want a full-time job, nationally, there are more than 6 people out of work for every job opening.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently reports the U-6 unemployment rate as 13.2% --- but counting others who dropped out of the labor force because they gave up looking for work (those who are not counted by the government), PBS used the U-7 rate to report that the unemployment rate is really 15.63% with 25.3 million Americans who want a full-time job --- while Shadow Stats reports over 23%.
Some people have put this number as high as 35 million unemployed when including the 99ers and others who are excluded from the government numbers. (The 99ers can also be considered as a subset of the U-7 rate, because they were laid off early on during the Great Recession and had used up 99 weeks of federal extended unemployment benefits before being moved into the "marginally attached" category --- before they were eventually dropped from the government statistics altogether)
So while the government and the media might still be saying (after 5 years) that there are "3 job openings for every 1 unemployed", be very skeptical. In some American cities there might be as many as 38 people unemployed for every 1 job opening.
Take Washington DC for example (which technically, isn't a "city" per se, but nonetheless). The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in the District of Columbia (with a population of 633,000) the unemployment rate is above the national average at 7.4% --- but that the U-6 rate in DC is 14.6%. Now consider this, DC is one of the few places in America that actually experienced a economic boom during the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Recently Walmart just opened two new stores in our nation's capital. Now everyone
knows that Walmart isn't the best place in America to work, where employees earn
an average $8.82 an hour, and often aren't even full-time
associates. Recently the
mayor of DC, Vincent C. Gray, vetoed
a bill that would have raised the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour. (Read
more here at the Daily Beast)
The NBC Washington just reported that there had been over 23,000 job applicants for 600 jobs at those new Walmart stores. According to Business Insider, just 2.6% of applicants will walk out with a job. That's more difficult than getting into Harvard, because the Ivy League university only accepts 6.1% of their applicants.
That also might mean there are 38 people unemployed for every 1 job opening in "Boomtown" Washington DC. Could it be that 23 thousand people were working for $7.25 an hour and were desperately seeking better-paying jobs at Walmart? And if not, how really bad is it for the unemployed in DC and other areas of the nation?
Forbes asked, "If Walmart jobs are so terrible, then why do so many people want one?" They go on to answer:
The answer is of course that the Walmart jobs are better than the alternatives. Those alternatives could be not having a job at all, or working in fast food, or at Target, or wherever. The one thing we do know is, that those Walmart jobs are better than one or all of those alternatives...people apply for the jobs means that they want them.
Ok, just because all these people are desperate and want jobs (or better-paying jobs), it still doesn't address the number of jobs for the number of unemployed --- meaning there still aren't enough of these "great" Walmart jobs for everyone without a job at all. So what do they do for an income? If they are denied unemployment benefits (or food stamps) will that create more jobs for them? The GOP thinks so.
The labor force participation rate is the lowest it's been since February 1978 (when Jimmy Carter was our president). And NO, it's NOT because Baby Boomers have been retiring. It because: Since Obama's first year in office, the U.S. has had more "non-starters" than "quitters" in the labor force. Meaning, there have not been near enough jobs created to, not only make up for the 8.7 million jobs lost during the Great Recession, but also not enough new jobs were created to employ the 15.4 million high school graduates in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Reflecting the opinions and thoughts of many (if not most) GOP leaders:
- Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently said, "When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy".
- And remember when Rep. Paul Ryan said, "We don't want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency."
- Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona had once claimed: "Continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work."
Even though studies have been done to show that jobless benefits are NOT a disincentive to work --- or that jobless benefits do NOT increase unemployment, nor do they extend the duration of unemployment. But they GOP either doesn't believe these studies, or just chooses to ignore them (most believe it is the latter).
For one thing, 99 weeks of unemployment benefits are no longer being offered, but the point is mute; because over 1.3 million jobless Americans will soon lose their federal extended unemployment benefits anyway --- and another 2.4 million Americans will have their State benefits expire within the next 26 weeks.
* And another thing, maybe all these unemployed people haven't been laying in hammocks after all, but instead, most of those lazy freeloaders have living it up on steak and lobster and drinking frozen strawberry Margaritas by a country lake (because millionaires have also been receiving unemployment benefits.)
But to question these sage GOP
fornicators pontificaters: How will losing these jobless
benefits somehow create more jobs in Washington DC and other parts of the country?
Yet the Republicans have been trying to convince us that it will.
So after 5 years, we will soon see whether or not the GOP's "theory" holds water. According to people like Rand Paul, the unemployment rate should drastically drop next year, millions of jobs should be created, and the labor force participation rate should rise when federal extended jobless benefits end.
The GOP's "jobs plan" will soon to be in play --- meaning --- according to the Republicans, all those poor souls in DC and across the nation will soon have a reason to rejoice after the holidays.