Sunday, July 7, 2013

Count the long-term unemployed 99ers in 2013

Exactly one year after I was laid off in 2008 the unemployment rate peaked in October 2009, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate was 10.2 percent with 15.7 million people unemployed. Since then, little has changed...just more people are long-term unemployed.

Then exactly one year later in October 2010 (and 4 months after my federal extended unemployment benefits had ran out) the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported:

The number of long-term unemployed workers has increased sharply since the recession began in December 2007. In the second quarter of 2010, about 46 percent of the 14.6 million unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or longer and about 31 percent were unemployed for 52 weeks or longer." (31 percent of 14.6 million is 4.5 million.)

At the time report was released, because I was laid off in October 2008, I had already been unemployed for exactly 2 years (That would be "104 weeks or longer". Note that between October 2009 and October 2010, 1.1 million less people were being reported by Bureau of Labor Statistics as unemployed.)

One year later in 2011 I asked, Where did 15 million jobless Americans go? And then last year in 2012 I said there were 8 million unemployed not counted by the Labor Department. In another post last year I said 15 Million Americans were jobless over 2 years. At one time or another, as of 2011, about 18 million people who were out of work for 6 months or longer received federally extended unemployment insurance benefits.

Depending on the unemployment rate in their state, some people could receive UI benefits up to 99 weeks. These were the 99ers --- but after their benefits expired (or after 12 months of unemployment, whichever came first) they were no longer counted and forgotten by the government; and without the earlier exceptions of Ed Shultz on MSNBC and Ali Velshi on CNN, they were eventually forgotten by the media as well.

Now it's July 2013 and the 99ers are still not counted...and for the most part, are still forgotten.

That 2010 report on the long-term unemployed came out 2 years and 8 months ago --- when 4.5 million had already been out of work for a year or longer. Now today the BLS reports that only 4.3 million are long-term unemployed (not much of a change, according to the government).

The official Great Recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, when most of the job losses had occurred --- and according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 8.7 million jobs were already lost during that time before we started seeing positive job growth. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 8.1 million who were "job losers" --- workers who either lost their jobs or completed temporary jobs without ever being rehired again. REMEMBER THAT NUMBER: About 8 million lost jobs.

Since that time the unemployment number has hovered around 11-12 million. (See my post: The Conveyor Belt Theory)

Yesterday in a statement acting Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris said we've had 7.2 million private sector jobs created over the last 40 consecutive months of growth. That would be from March 2010 to June 2013.

According to the most recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11.8 million Americans are currently unemployed --- and of those counted as unemployed, 4.3 million were long-term unemployed (they were jobless for longer than 6 months) --- meaning that, according to the BLS, the great majority of the unemployed (7.5 million) had lost their jobs only recently...within the past 6 months. But how could that be? Were most of them just temporary employees?

Probably. According to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics' JOLT report, all the hiring done between April 2012 and April 2013 only yielded a net employment gain of 1.8 million new jobs. That numbers about half of all the high school graduates that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported we had during that same period of time in the 2011/1012 school year (3.2 million).

Also in that 2010 report on the long-term unemployed, they said, "Some researchers have attributed the rise in long-term unemployment to the tendency of firms to hire individuals who have been jobless for shorter durations first, thus increasing the share of unemployed persons who have been jobless for very long periods." As of last year in 2012 at the Congressional Hearing: Long-term Unemployment for Older Workers, they were all already well aware of this (even the Republicans knew).

But no matter what anyone else says, I will still argue that at least 8 million people (the original 99ers) are long-term unemployed and are no longer counted. No one hired them because of age (over 50) or just because they WERE long-term unemployed.

And it wouldn't matter how many people were retiring, going on disability, being incarcerated or dying. It would only mean that even more jobs would have been needed in order to maintain the same level of employment.

The 99ers are a cross section of all walks of life of American society: race, color, creed, national origin --- old and young --- male and female --- Democrat and Republican --- of all educational and skill levels. They are ALL the victims of a man-made disaster...poor government regulation, corporate greed (offshoring) and reckless Wall Street gambling. There was no "shared sacrifice"...the 99ers have taken the hit for everybody else. Now they're invisible. The very least that the government could do was to remember them, acknowledge them and count them. Please email the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Labor and let them know you care. Tell them to count the 99ers in their next household survey >>> and

BELOW: The 99ers Revenge --- The video link below is at YouTube if this video doesn't play at a hosted website.

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