Yes.” – George Costanza, Seinfeld
And one day you could be a “living” person with a few million dollars and some time on your hands, so the question of trading for a job might not be as pressing as it once was.
As the United States grapples with one of its lowest unemployment rates in two decades, a new analysis of employment data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits is set to plummet.
The U.S. Census Bureau says that, as of this week, there were only 1.9 million Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits this year – a 5.4 percent decrease from 2010’s figure.
This drop stems largely from the increase in the number of people receiving the federally funded Extended Benefits Program under President Obama’s health care reform law, which began October 1, 2012 and provides job protection for up to 26 weeks to the long-term unemployed. Many jobless people don’t qualify for such benefits and get cash aid only when their benefits expire. The increase in extended benefits is especially notable because, until now, the only way the federal government had known to know how many unemployed people were receiving them was to count the number of people receiving any sort of aid – including Extended Benefits Programs – as unemployed or “out of work.”
That trend of expanding extended benefits has helped fuel a larger drop in the number of people seeking, on average, more than 40 weeks of jobless benefits. Only 45,000 people had applied for more than 40 weeks of benefits in 2012, the lowest number since the beginning of the jobless-aid era in December 2008.
“It’s been really a really big boost to be doing much better when you count people as getting jobless,” said Tim Bivins, director of research for the Institute for Research on Poverty at the National Employment Law Project, which has called for increasing the size of the Supplemental Security Income program, also known collectively as SSI. “Even if you are in the wrong job and you got no one to help you apply for work, that would be a strong argument for extending SSI.”
But, Bivins said, it’s too soon to celebrate the recent drop in the number of people receiving extended benefits. “Those benefits are very small,” he said. “What you get on your insurance has a lot to do with your income.”
When they’ve gone.
When you’re stuck in traffic – or worse, stuck
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