JUNE# released Fri, July 7: +222,000 jobs. Unemployment up 4.4%...JUNE details HERE.. Jobs since Trump took office?... Unemp. rate under Trump? (not yet updated)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Unemployment Benefit Extensions Expire: What Does That Mean?

Unemployment in the Spotlight.. Finally!

We haven't heard that much about the unemployed over the past year.  There aren't that many articles about unemployment anymore, the articles that are published about unemployment aren't that well read, and many Americans seem to have forgotten that we still have ten million people who are actively looking for work every month, and that about 6.7 million of those 10 million are people 25 and over looking for full-time work.  (1.9 million are young people, 16 to 24, looking for full-time work, and the rest of the unemployed, about 1.6 million, are looking for part-time work.)



Unemployment extensions set to expire


But unemployment extensions are now set to expire, and the unemployed are again in the spotlight.  I've been reading many articles about unemployment over the last few days, and the comments to those articles.

So let's attempt to sort the myths and mysteries about unemployment and unemployment extensions in this country.



Myth #1:  The unemployment rate is still going up and things are still horrible.

FALSE. 
 The unemployment rate actually peaked in late 2009 and has come down ever since.  It is now almost a full point lower (7%) than it was when Obama took office (7.8%).  The number of people who are unemployed now is down by over a million compared to the month that Obama took office, and the number of "prime" unemployed, those 25 and up looking for full-time work, has decreased by two million, despite an increase of over a million in the "civilian labor force".  



Myth #2:  These extensions just keep going on and on.  99 weeks?  Why should anyone look for work?

FALSE:  Nobody has ever received unemployment benefits for longer than 99 weeks without getting a job, working again (for at least a year) and requalifying for benefits.  The total number of weeks of unemployment has been tied into a state's unemployment rate, and as the unemployment rate has fallen everywhere over the past four years, the weeks of available benefits have also fallen.  Right now, 73 weeks of benefits are only available in two states, and most states only offer 43 to 63 weeks.  Many states offer 42 weeks or less.       

And the average benefit is about $300/week, less in some states.  I can't really imagine someone living the life of Riley on $300 bucks a week and being happy about it.  

Despite the negativity and protests of Republicans, there is NO incentive, not now, never was, for people to just kick back on unemployment benefits, unless they have another, significant wage earner in the house.  The benefits don't pay the bills; they don't come close.

Myth #3:  When unemployment benefits end, the unemployment rate will go down.  Obama WANTS the unemployment benefits to end because then the unemployment rate will go down.  (or:)  Republican governors WANT unemployment benefits to end because then the unemployment rate will go down.  (I've heard both.)

This is one of the biggest myths out there.  From another article here:

The monthly unemployment rate is completely separate from the weekly jobless claims reports. They use different inputs. That weekly questionnaire that people need to submit if they are getting unemployment benefits is NOT input into the monthly unemployment numbers. There's NO connection.
So the unemployment rate will not go down just because people are no longer receiving benefits.  In fact, now we have about 10 million officially unemployed and only about 5 million are receiving benefits.

Now indirectly, the end of benefits MAY influence the unemployment rate.  As a condition of receiving unemployment benefits, people MUST look for work.  People who don't have work but are looking for work are counted as unemployed.  People who do not receive unemployment benefits do not have to look for work.. unless, of course, they really want work!  It is conceivable that some people really don't want or need to work and they were looking for work just to collect those benefits.  But, if so, those people really can't need work that badly, can they?  Anyway, if someone who was collecting benefits decides that they really don't need to look for work when there are no more benefits, then they would not be counted among the unemployed.  If there are enough people in that situation; that is, people who decide, after the unemployment benefits stop, to just sit around the house and not bother to look for work; then the unemployment rate might decline.   




Myth #4:  I was just laid off a few weeks ago, and my benefits are going away!

FALSE:  Basic state benefits are NOT going away; however, those benefits only provide 19 weeks (North Carolina) up to 26 weeks (most other states).  The median length of unemployment is still 17 weeks, which means that a large percentage of the unemployed will NOT be able to find work before their unemployment benefits expire.

Myth #5:  I will get no more money in my account starting today.

NOT QUITE:  This is the last day of the last week for which people can now certify for federal extended benefits (the "Tiers").  Most states require people to certify sometime between the last day of the week and the next 2-3 days of the following week.  Most benefits are received a few days to a week later.

People who are claiming this week, the week ending December 28th, would generally receive their checks one week to ten days later, or sometime during the week ending January 9th.  The first check that those on extensions will miss would be the check that they would get sometime in the week ending January 20th, as most states only pay benefits every two weeks.  There IS time for Congress to get back and pass a bill to extend unemployment benefits without a break (or with only a short break) in benefits for the affected people.       

Myth #6:  All long-term unemployed people get extended benefits.  

FALSE:  Actually, only a fraction of the long-term unemployed are eligible for benefits.  People who quit their last jobs generally don't get benefits (some exceptions, but not many); people who are entering or re-entering the job market (think graduates) generally don't get benefits; and people who are among the very, very long-term unemployed don't get benefits.  3.3 million people are among those who have been unemployed for 52 weeks or longer, and most of those 3.3 million are not eligible for extended benefits,  as most states end benefits at 43 to 63 weeks now.

Myth #7:  "There are jobs out there.  Work two jobs at McDonald's before you take unemployment."

NOT QUITE:  Here's the whole spiel from someone posting at NBC:

"I'd would work 2 jobs at McDonald's before going on unemployment. Obviously, these people found it easier and more profitable to get government assistance. There are jobs out there. One just has to go out and get one."

I wonder how much this guy got paid for posting this crap.  Here are the facts:
  • There are still about 2.7 jobseekers for every job opening out there.  This is down from almost 7 jobseekers for every job opening back in late 2009/early 2010, but it still means that people can't just bounce right out there and get a job.
  • There is no guarantee that someone can go to the nearest McDonald's and get a job, particularly if you are "overqualified", have bad credit, and/or have some other "issue".  Anyone who thinks that anyone can go to a McDonald's or other fast food place and get a job has never tried it.  Not only that, but most fast food jobs start as part-time jobs.  People on unemployment who are working part-time jobs may still qualify for some benefits.
  • There is nothing "profitable" about earning an average of $300/week on unemployment benefits.  Anyone who says such a stupid thing has brains where he sits.

I'll add to this as I see more myths slung about on various places on the Internet.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jobs Lost, Gained Over the Past Year (November 2013 udpate)

2,293,000 new jobs were CREATED or ADDED during the past year, from November 2012 to November 2013.  

The private sector generated (added) 2,315,000 new jobs, but the government sector continued to shed (lose) jobs, 22,000 jobs, year over year from November 2012 to November 2013.

1,109,000 MORE people reported themselves as working or employed, including people who are self-employed or working in agriculture, in the past year from November to November.  
         

The unemployment rate has declined from 7.8% in November 2012 to the current 7.0% in November 2013.  When considered year over year, the decline in the unemployment rate has been due mostly to a decrease in the number of people unemployed (from 12,042,000 to 10,907,000).  The unemployment rate has been below 8.0% for 15 months in a row now.  

How Many Jobs Created or Lost in November 2013?



203,000 new jobs were CREATED or ADDED last month, in the month of November 2013.  

The private sector generated (added) 196,000 new jobs and the government sector lost (decreased) 7,000 jobs in November 2013.

818,000 MORE people reported themselves as working in November 2013.  The number of people working in October was affected by the government shutdown, which caused the layoff of up to 800,000 workers.  The large increase in workers this month probably represents the large number of people who came back to work after the shutdown was over.      
         

The unemployment rate decreased to 7.2% in November 2013.  Last month's unemployment rate inched up, probably due to the effect of the government shutdown, as up to 800,000 people were idled in mid-October.  455,000 people entered the labor force in November; however, this could also be the result of the end of the government shutdown, as federal workers went back to work.  (The size of the labor force is volatile.  Read more HERE.)    The unemployment rate has been below 8.0% for 15 months in a row now, starting in Summer 2012.  

Private & Government Jobs Gained & Lost Under Obama (November 2013 update)

How many jobs (total, private, and government) have been lost or gained since Obama was inaugurated? 
  • 4,311,000 TOTAL jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST in from the time Obama took office until the "trough" of the recession in early 2010.  That's a decrease of 3.2%.    
  • 7,445,000 jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were CREATED from the "trough" of the recession until now, November 2013.  That's an increase of 5.8%.
  • In total, 3,134,000  jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were ADDED from the time Obama took office until now, November 2013.  That's an increase of 2.35%.
  • We have experienced 38 months WITHOUT job losses since September 2010.  We have added 6,837,000 jobs during those 38 months. 
  • We now have 136,765,000 TOTAL non-farm jobs. 
*  These are all net figures, meaning that they represent the total number of jobs at the end of a reporting period.  All losses have been subtracted from all gains and vice verse.
    *  For the purposes of comparison, jobs are being added at a faster clip under Obama than under George Bush at the same time in his presidency.  At this point in Bush's presidency (July 2005), there were only 1,477,000 MORE jobs than when he was inaugurated in January 2001 compared to 2,271,000 MORE for Obama in June 2013.  (This will be updated for November 2013 in the next few days.)


    How many PRIVATE sector jobs have been lost or gained since Obama was inaugurated?
    • 4,198,000 PRIVATE-sector jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST from the time Obama took office until the "trough" of the recession in early 2010.  That's a decrease of 3.8%.
    • 8,058,000 PRIVATE-sector jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were GAINED OR CREATED from the "trough" of the recession until now, November 2013.  That's an increase of 7.54%.
    • In total, 3,860,000 private sector jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) have been GAINED from the time Obama took office until now, November 2013.  That's a net increase of 3.48%. *
    • We have experienced 45 months of positive private-sector job GROWTH from February 2010 until November 2013.  We have added 8,058,000 private-sector jobs during those 45 months.    
    • We now have 114,908,000  PRIVATE sector non-farm jobs.
    *As of July 2013,  jobs were being added at a faster clip under Obama than under George Bush at the same time in his presidency.  At this point in Bush's presidency (July 2005), there were only 455,000 MORE private sector jobs than when he was inaugurated in January 2001 compared to 3,003,000 MORE for Obama.    (This will be updated for November in the next few days.)   

    How many GOVERNMENT jobs have been lost or gained since Obama was inaugurated?  (Government jobs include federal, state, and local government jobs.)
    • 113,000 GOVERNMENT jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST from the time Obama took office until the "trough" of the recession in early 2010.  That's a decrease of 0.5%  (about half of a percent). 
    • Another 613,000 GOVERNMENT jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST from the "trough" of the recession until now, November 2013.  That's a decrease of 2.7%.    
    • In total, 726,000 GOVERNMENT jobs (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were LOST from the time Obama took office until now, November 2013.  That's a decrease of 3.2%.  A large portion of these jobs, about 300,000, have been lost in the "Local Government - Education" sector. (Teachers.)
    • We have experienced decreases in the number of government jobs in 26 out of the last 36 months, starting in January 2011.  We have experienced declines in the number of government jobs in the last 7 out of the last 12 months.     
    • We now have 21,859,000 GOVERNMENT jobs, not including people in the military.  (Most civilians employed by the U.S. and working for the military are counted.)
    (Note:  Current numbers taken from the November 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report.  Historical numbers taken from various archived Employment Situation reports as indexed HERE. Specifics will be provided upon request; please email me or leave a comment.)

    An afterthought---

    A reader asks:

    How Many Private Sector Jobs Were Lost Because of Obama?

    We haven't lost ANY private sector jobs (net) since February 2010, a year after Obama took office.  Between January 2009 and February 2010, we lost 4,198,000 private sector jobs as stated above.

    Should we "blame" Obama for not being immediately able to stem the tide of private sector job loss in 2009?  If a house is burning out of control and the fire department comes to put out the fire, it continues to burn until it is brought under control and cooled down, right?  Now.. would you blame the fire department for the continued fire and the time to put it out after the firefighters arrive on the scene?

    Well, you might, but I wouldn't:  Here's my reasoning:  Burning Down the House!

    So my answer to this question would be a big, fat ZERO.  I do NOT feel that Obama is to blame for any loss of jobs between January 2009 and February 2010.  If you think he is, please leave a comment and explain!


    How Many Jobs Has Obama Created or Lost? (November 2013 update)




    How many NET jobs created or lost under Obama as of November 2013?  
    How many private sector jobs have been lost or added during Obama's presidency?

    How many new jobs in the last 4 1/2 years since Obama was inaugurated?  
    How many Americans were working or employed when Obama took office... compared to now?

    Answers to these questions below the links..

    Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 7.4 million MORE jobs in total
    • 8.1 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 6.4 million MORE people working
    How many workers were full-time or part-time at the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 compared to now?

    • 6.4 million MORE people working full-time.
    • 10,000 FEWER people working part-time.  
    • (Yes, despite what you may have heard, from the depth of the recession until now we have actually LOST part-time jobs.  When a recession hits, companies generally cut back on full-time workers first.)

    Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 3.1 million MORE jobs in total
    • 3.9 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 2.2 million MORE people working

    How many workers were full-time or part-time when Obama was inaugurated compared to now?

    • 1.1 million MORE people working full-time
    • 1.1 million MORE people working part-time  

    Have any private jobs been lost (net) over the past 
    45 months since February 2010?
    NO!
    • 45 months of consecutive private-sector job growth.

    Have any jobs been lost (net) over the past 38 months since September 2010?

    NO!
    • 38 months of consecutive overall job growth.
    Are more people unemployed now than when Obama took office in January 2009?  
    NO!
    • Despite 1,058,000 MORE people in the labor force (either working or actively looking for work) now vs. January 2009, there are 1,172,000 FEWER people unemployed now than in January 2009. 




    What's the difference between "net" and "gross" jobs gained and lost?


    Let's get something straight:  Jobs are lost every week and every month.  People are fired, people are laid off, businesses or locations are closed and everybody is let go. 
     

    Also people quit every week.  You yourself, dear reader,  may have quit a job at some point in time. 


    But people are also HIRED every week and every month.  New businesses open, businesses expand, businesses replace people who have left or been fired.  Every week.  You yourself, dear reader, may have been hired for a job at some point in time.This happens in good times and bad. 

    Yes, even in bad times, people are getting hired.  Even in good times, people are let go.  

    Now:  The monthly jobs reportupon which this article is based, presents estimates based on surveys as to how many jobs are gained or lost in a given month.  Those numbers are based on the number of new jobs (people getting hired, businesses opening) MINUS the number of jobs that have been cut (people getting fired, people quitting, businesses closing or cutting back).

    The monthly jobs report therefore reports NET job growth or loss.  


    For 38 months in this country, we have had MORE jobs being added than we have had jobs being cut.  For 45 months in the private sector (not counting federal workers, state or local workers such as teachers, firemen, cops, or people who staff the DMV, only counting people who work for private businesses), we have had MORE jobs added than we have had jobs being cut.


    To reiterate:  How many jobs have been created in the last 4 1/2 years versus how many jobs have been lost?
    All numbers provided on monthly jobs reports, which is what the series on jobs created/lost under Obama is based, are NET jobs numbers.  In other words, they reflect gains after all job losses are subtracted, or they reflect job losses after all gains are added. 
    For the past 45 months (as of November 2013), we have had NET gains in private jobs numbers every month.  In other words, in every month since February 2010, more private jobs have been created than have been lost.  In every month since September 2010, more jobs in total have been created than have been lost.


    Fact check and important information on these jobs numbers...

    The above jobs numbers are from the BLS jobs report of November 2013, which was released in December 2013.  The surveys used to gather these numbers in November are taken as of the week which includes the 5th day of the month, in this case, November 5, 2013.  This is a week earlier than usual due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

    What Was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office Compared to Now? (November 2013 update)



    January 2015 update of this report HERE!



    What was the unemployment rate when Bush left office and Obama was inaugurated? 
    7.8%


    What was the unemployment rate after Obama's first full month in office (February 2009)?  8.3%

    What was the unemployment rate at peak?  10.0%


    What is today's (November 2013's) unemployment rate?   7.0%*  
    How many people were looking for work when Obama was inaugurated; how many were working?  And how many people are looking for work and how many are employed now?
    • Read below the graph.
    • The following chart shows the unemployment rate in three month intervals plus month-by-month for the latest months:

       




    Why are there two lines, one for "Seas Adjusted" and one for "Unadjusted"?


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses seasonal adjustments to adjust for the volatility in the labor market from one month to the next.  The relatively even red line above shows the unemployment rate based on seasonally adjusted numbers.  The jagged green line shows the unemployment rate based on "real", "raw" numbers; the unadjusted rate.  Notice that the green line goes up in January (after holiday layoffs) and July (school-related layoffs), and it goes down in October and April, which are strong months for workers.  (Employees are all back to school in October, and employers are staffing up for the holidays.  Schools are also full in April and employers are starting to staff up for summer, construction, vacation venues, etc.)  The red line helps us to compare the unemployment rate over a period of months; the green line, however, reflects "reality":  Your friends, neighbors, and family members actually working or not working.  

    November 2013 Unemployment Rate Jobs

    November 2013 Jobs Numbers and Unemployment Rate were released this morning, Friday, December 6, 2013.

    November Highlights:



    • 203,000 payroll jobs added.  (September & October numbers were revised upwards.)  Job growth has averaged 191,000/month over the past 12 months.
    • Private jobs increased by 196,000.
    • Government jobs increased by 7,000.  
    • Unemployment rate ticked down to 7.0% (from 7.3%).  This decrease was impacted by the end of the government shutdown in mid-October as over 400,000 federal workers who said that they were unemployed on "temporary layoff" returned to work.  The unemployment rate decreased across the board, for every ethnic, age, and occupation group.  
    • The alternate unemployment rate (which includes part time workers who want full time jobs, discouraged workers, and marginally attached workers) declined to 13.2 from 13.8 last month.  This is the lowest that it has been since November 2008, five years ago.  One year ago, the alternate unemployment rate was 14.4.      
    • The labor force increased by 455,000 in November, reversing much of last month's decline.  Most of last month's decline has been attributed to the government shutdown.   
    • NOTE:  To repeat, October's government shutdown did not appreciably affect the payroll numbers because no government employees were taken off of payroll during the shutdown.  However, the Household Survey is based on workers' answers to questions.  Workers affected by the shutdown should have been classified as unemployed/on temporary layoff during the shutdown, but it appears that some did not answer the questions correctly.  Therefore, the Household Survey was affected by the shutdown.  Both the increase in the unemployment rate and the drop in the civilian labor force in OCTOBER may have been related to the government shutdown.   These changes were REVERSED in November.
    • Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
      • 7.4 million MORE jobs in total
      • 8.1 million MORE private sector jobs
      • 6.4 million MORE people working* 
      Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
      • 3.1 million MORE jobs in total
      • 3.9 million MORE private sector jobs
      • 2.2 million MORE people working*
    November 2013 reports published:

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    Weekly Unemployment Claims Recovering from October Government Shutdown

    Yes, the government shutdown did hurt employment for a number of weeks.

    All we need to do is to look at the weekly unemployment claims over the past two months.

    Back in mid-September, the number of claims was heading down with a bullet.


    Look at the numbers for September 2013 (the red line) in the chart above.  Notice what happened in the first week of October.  Though government workers are back to work, the number of requests for unemployment insurance has only now, two months later, approached what it was in September.  The increase in claims in October over September is probably due to a ripple effect as the shutdown and the concerns about the debt ceiling standoff have percolated throughout the economy.

    It's simple:  Bad, destructive government has consequences. 


    Weekly unemployment initial claims decreased by 23,000 this week to 298,000 after decreasing 5,000 last week.  

    (Even though the weekly initial claims numbers are seasonally adjusted, these numbers are always a bit volatile and should only be analyzed in terms of a trend over a period of weeks.  See the graph above.)


    First time seasonally adjusted unemployment jobless claims declined to 
    298,000  for the week ending November 30th, a decrease of 23,000 claims.  New weekly claims had stayed below 350,000 for three months from July until September.  Then came the government shutdown in October.  Though new claims have decreased since the first week of October, we are only now, two months later, at the same levels of initial claims of September.    


    The four-week moving average # of claims, which smooths some of the week-to-week volatility, is finally decreasing as the weeks of high numbers of claims in October are dropped from the calculation.  The moving average decreased by 
    10,750 last week after increasing by 6,250 the week before.  It is now
     322,250.

    Overall, initial claims are now at about the same level they were six years ago, in early to mid 2007. (Unemployment claims started to climb in October through December 2007.) 


    Initial Claims Graph:


    The chart at the top of the page is one of the BEST charts for understanding and observing changes in the weekly initial claims numbers over time.  This year (red:  2013) and the past three years (blue:  2010green:  2011 and black:  2012) are marked in different colors.  You can see that, as a trend, first time claims for unemployment have declined from one year to the next, even though there are variations within the year.  The number of initial unemployment claims had been on a downward trajectory in summer, but it increased steeply during October, though it is now decreasing again.  

    Be aware that:
    1. The graph above shows first time claims, so people who have continued to receive benefits or who have lost unemployment benefits are not counted in these numbers.  
    2. They are seasonally adjusted, so most variations caused by weather or holidays are already included in these numbers.  
    3. As these are weekly numbers, they are more volatile than the monthly numbers.
    Continuing Claims?

    For the week ending November 16th, 
    4,096,901 people were receiving unemployment benefits under one of the programs that are available (regular state, federal extended unemployment compensation, or a few other smaller programs).  This was a increase of about 183,000 claims in total since the previous week.  Regular state claims (the first 19 to 26 weeks of claims) also increased by a total of 134,000.  The number of people receiving benefits under the Federal Extended Benefits program (the "Tiers") increased about 46,000.   

    Though the number of continuing claims increased for the week ending November 16th, the total 
    number of regular state claims has been below 3,000,000 in seasonally adjusted numbers since mid August, and the number of regular state claims decreased slightly in the week ending November 23rd.  (At the peak of the Crash, in early 2009, about 6,500,000 regular state claims were filed a week.) 

    Benefits Now vs. a Year Ago?


    About 860,000
     FEWER 
    people are receiving unemployment benefits now vs. one year ago.  We do not know what has happened to the people who are no longer receiving benefits; we do not know how many of those 860,000+ people found employment, how many retired, and how many are still looking for work.  We do know that:

    • There are 240,000 MORE people reporting themselves as employed than a year ago (though this number has been impacted by the October government shutdown).
    • There are  2,329,000 MORE non-farm jobs than a year ago.
    • We also know that a grand total of 52,722,000 hires have been made by employers between October 2012 and September 2013.  Some people may have been hired more than once during the year, so the number of "hires" is generally higher than the number of additional people with jobs.   
    • However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics JOLTS (Job Openings, Layoffs, and Turnover Survey) for September 2013, we still have about 2.9 active jobseekers for every job opening out there (down from around 7 jobseekers for every job opening at the peak of the recession in late 2009.) 
    • The percent of unemployed people receiving benefits his now 38% for the week ending November 16th.  (A year ago, 42.2% of the unemployed were receiving benefits.)





    Current Spring Initial Claims Continue to be the Lowest Since  2007.

    From 
    the current report:
    In the week ending November 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 298,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 321,000. The 4-week moving average was 322,250, a decrease of 10,750 from the previous week's revised average of 333,000.
    As usual, to put all of this into perspective, check out the red line on the chart at the top of the page to see where jobless claims are now, in 2013, compared to the past three years.

    First time unemployment claims decreased by 18,000 over those reported last week.  Last week's initial claims numbers were revised upwards by 5,000 claims.  There are usually slight upwards revisions  (1,000 to 3,000) in the numbers of initial claims in most weeks.  (The chart above shows REVISED claims numbers.)

    As a whole, the current numbers of initial claims continue to be the lowest initial claims numbers since late 2007/early 2008.


    Continuing claims also decreasing.
      

    Continuing regular state claims in seasonally adjusted numbers, from people who are continuing to claim unemployment through the initial 19 to 26 week regular unemployment program, decreased by 21,000 for the week ending November 23rd after decreasing by 102,000  the week before.  2,744,000 people filed continuing regular state claims in the week ending November 23rd.  As a whole, continuing regular claims continue to decline slowly despite some individual weekly increases.  (There were 3,216,000 continuing claims a year ago.)
     

    Total number of people receiving unemployment insurance is a very low 38% of the officially unemployed for the week ending November 16th.
      
    The weekly report also tells us the total number of people who are receiving unemployment benefits.  For the week ending November 16th, 4,096,901 people were receiving unemployment benefits under one of the programs that are available (regular state, extended benefits, federal extended unemployment compensation, or a few other smaller programs). This compares with 10,773,000 people who are unemployed in unadjusted numbers according to the monthly October unemployment situation report which was released Friday, November 8th.  Those numbers, showing that only 38% of the officially unemployed are receiving benefits, should make it clear that people do NOT need to be receiving unemployment insurance to be counted among the unemployed.  (This ratio and these two numbers are NOT seasonally adjusted.)

    Extended Benefits (EB) Still Not Available in any State




    As of the week ending November 16th, only 216 people were still receiving Extended Benefits, as mentioned above.  A year ago, 37,096 people were receiving Extended Benefits.  As recently as April 2012, 412,411 people were receiving Extended Benefits.

    Therefore, over the 18 months, 99.99% of the people who were receiving Extended Benefits are no longer receiving such benefits.  We do not know how many of these 412,000 people receiving Extended Benefits in April 2012 have found jobs, how many have another source of income in the family, and how many have nothing. 

    To reiterate, while a decrease in the number of people FILING for initial claims is a good thing and indicates that fewer people are being laid off, a decrease in the TOTAL number of people getting unemployment insurance may only show that fewer people are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

    Any questions or confusion, please leave a comment or email me!