AUG#: +130,000 jobs.

Unemployment up at 3.7%...AUG jobs under Trump HERE

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Terrifying Ordeal of Mitt Romney's Dog

Continuing the story of Mitt Romney's Dog on the Roof:  
A reader of the Dogs Against Romney blog created a video reenactment to make much more real the plight of Mitt Romney's dog Seamus and his 12 hour terrifying car ride on the roof of Romney's car.  Experience the noise and try to get a sense of the wind. 

Click the link to see what this trip might have been like from the dog's perspective. No wonder the dog ran away...... or.. something.  Catch the full story of Mitt Romney's dog Seamus HERE .  More Mitt Mutt news HERE.
And don't forget the Mutt Romney Blues sung by the great Ry Cooder. 

T-shirts, bumper stickers, magnets, dog coats and bandanas all available at Dogs Against Romney.  See you there! 

Update 3/15/2012:

 Romney's Dog, Seamus, has made the front page again. 
 This time, the front page of the Washington Post.  (Our friends at Dogs Against Romney also got a mention.)

Is this an important story or just a distraction? 
You decide.  Read more HERE.   

 Don't miss all of our other articles about the Seamus story: 

May Monthly Jobs Numbers
 Friday, June 1st. 
 Check back then!

Monday, February 27, 2012

How Many Post Office Workers Have Been Laid Off Since Obama Took Office? (March 2012 update)

Post Office Woes...

(January 21, 2013:  Update added for December 2012 below.)

When Did the Number of Postal Workers Start to Go Down?

I was surprised to hear the recent brouhaha about the loss of 35,000 jobs in the post office only because the post office has been a job blood bath for years now.  35,000 jobs is basically a drop in the bucket for the USPS.  Let's look at the number of jobs that have been lost at the post office over the past few years.

Employment at the post office reached a peak in April 1999 with 909,000 jobs.  Here's the end of the year post office job totals since then:
  • December 2002:  819,300  (minus 89,700 from 1999 peak)
  • December 2003:  798,700  (minus 20,600)
  • December 2004:  776,400  (minus 22,300) 
  • December 2005:  775,200  (minus 1,200)
  • December 2006:  767,800  (minus 7,400)
  • December 2007:  781,700  (plus 13,900)
  • December 2008:  725,300  (minus 56,400) 
  • January 2009:     728,700  (plus 3,400) 
  • December 2009:  658,300  (minus 67,000 for all 2009)
  • December 2010:  646,800  (minus 11,500)
  • December 2011:  619,500  (minus 27,300)
  • January 2012:     619,300  (minus 200)
  • February 2012:    619,300  (even)
  • March 2012:        617,200  (minus 2,100)
  • December 2012 (latest):  602,100 (minus 15,100 since March)      
Since the peak in April 1999 until March 2012, 291,800 post office jobs have been cut.
Since Obama has been inaugurated until March 2012, 111,500 post office jobs have been cut.

Since the peak in April 1999 until December 2012, 306,900 post office jobs have been cut.
Since Obama has been inaugurated until December 2012, 126,200 post office jobs have been cut. 

Republicans Force the Post Office to "Pre-Fund" Its Retirement Accounts

One of the problems that the post office has had is that it has been forced to pre-fund its pension:
In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.  This law requires the Postal Service to do something that no other business or government agency has to do–pre-fund its FUTURE retiree health care benefits.  This is a 75 year liability that has to be paid in 10 years.  The Postal Service makes a payment of approximately $5.5 billion on September 30 at the end of every fiscal year to meet this obligation.  The Post Office has been paying these benefits the past four years into a trust fund for employees who have not even been born yet.  This is the burden that is creating the “financial crisis” for the Post Office.  The recession that has gripped America the past few years has undoubtedly affected the Postal Service, but even in the worst economic times since the great depression, the USPS has had a net profit of $611 million dollars.  Unfortunately, the red ink associated with the post office is the mandated pre-funding since 2006.
That quote was taken from THIS great story about the post office "crisis" that was written in September 2011.  There are many reasons that we need a government post office, many mentioned in that article.  But we also have many, many small businesses, people selling on eBay and through small online stores, who deliver their goods through USPS.  As USPS charges so much less than FedEx and UPS, it is unclear whether these small businesses could stay in business if they had to pay UPS or FedEx rates.

In any event, the Post Office is under fire by the privatization demons of the Republican party.. for no obvious good reason, but for the simple reason that there is no money to be made for rich people to get richer under a government-run Post Office.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

They're Lying! 20 Million People Lost Their Jobs in 2011!

How Many People Really Lost Their Jobs in 2011?

Some will say:  "20 million people lost their jobs!  That's a huge number.  How can anybody say that we're making progress in employment?"

Well, we have to look at the number of people who were laid off compared to the number of people who were hired.. and compared to the number of people who quit:

How Many People Were Laid Off in 2011?  Yes, it's true:  20,041,000
How Many First Time Claims for Unemployment were filed in 2011?  21,688,000

How Many People Quit in 2011?   23,083,000

How Many People Were "Separated" from their work for all reasons in 2011?  46,980,000

So almost 47,000,000 people quit or lost their jobs in 2011.  But.....  

How Many People Were Hired in 2011?  48,416,000

One million more people were hired than people who quit or were laid off in 2011.

How Many New Jobs Were Added in 2011?  1,820,000 total net.

We know that there were a grand total of 1,820,000 jobs added in 2011; 2,091,000 were gained in the private sector, while 271,000 were lost in the government sector.  

We know that the unemployment rate fell from 9.4% in December 2010 to 8.5% in December 2011 (and 8.3% now, as of January 2012).  We know that, while 12,758,000 people are considered "officially unemployed" now, we also know that 1,300,000 FEWER people are reporting themselves as unemployed at the end of 2011, in December, vs. a year ago in December 2010.

But we also know that, in good times and in bad, in improving times and in deteriorating times, people are laid off and people are hired.  The unemployment rate goes down and the job numbers go up when the number of people getting hired exceeds the number of people getting laid off or quitting over a period of time.  The unemployment rate goes up and the job numbers go down when the number of people getting hired is lower than the number of people getting laid off or quitting over a period of time.

Latest Jobs & Unemployment Numbers & Reports HERE!
(Including Jobs Lost and Gained in 2011, 2012, 2013 month by month; jobs numbers year by year 1999, since Obama took office.) 

How Many People Were Laid Off in 2008?  

There was a NET loss of 3,603,000 jobs in 2008.  That is, over 3 million MORE people were laid off or quit than were hired.  

How Many Were Laid Off Compared to How Many Were Hired in 2011?

So let's look at how many people actually were laid off and how many were hired as reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and published on their JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) in 2011.  (I use the latest revisions, which are extracted from the Bureau of Labor Statistics databases.)  The number of 1st Time Unemployment Claims comes from the Weekly Department of Labor report.  It comes close but does not equal the number of people laid off because 1) It is a weekly report, and the Layoff numbers from JOLTS are monthly, 2) Not all people who are laid off apply for unemployment for various reasons.   3)  People who quit may apply for unemployment and collect in some circumstances.

Month...# Laid off...#1st Claims# Quits....... # Separations# Hires...#Job Openings

(January 2012 initial claims:  1,509,000 for four weeks or 377,500 a week 
compared to January 2011 initial claims:  2,137,000 for five weeks or 427,400 a week.)

Number of People Quitting Now Exceeds the Number Getting Laid Off

First of all, it should be evident that layoffs and initial claims have been coming down over the months.  The numbers popped up again in Spring, then continued downwards.  But more important than the number of layoffs going down is that the number of quits has gone up and now outpaces the rate of layoffs every month.  (This wasn't true in 2009 or in 2010.)  This means that companies can no longer count on employees not leaving.. that can only be good for the labor market as a whole. 

As a result of fewer layoffs and more people quitting, we now have more people getting hired than we have total "separations" ("Separations" are the total of people leaving an employer for all reasons, including being laid off, people quitting, people retiring, and "other".) 

Of the 48,000,000 hires that employers reported in 2011, in simple percentages, 41% were replacements for people laid off, 48% were replacements for people who quit, about 8% were replacements for people who left for "other" reasons (including retirement), and 3% represented expansion; that is, new employees, not replacements.

Things are moving in the right direction.

There is just no way that anyone can look at these numbers over the course of a year and see anything negative in them... other than we need more of the same at an accelerating pace.  We had about 5,000 new hires a month during the mid-2000's, and that is what we need to make a big dent in the unemployment rate.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gallup Unemployment is back up to 9%! The Sky is Falling!

Gallup Unemployment: What it means and what it doesn't mean.

CNS readers:  Stupid?  Ill-informed?  Easily Manipulated?

CNS and other right-wing rags are blathering on about the Gallup daily poll which shows unemployment "back at 9%". Of course the right-wingers and other Republicans who are parroting this are pleased as punch; They are happy if more Americans are miserable...They are convinced that the more Americans are miserable, the more likely it is that the Republicans can take over the government completely come November and continue the decimation of the middle class while the rich get richer. After all, we all know that the lower the taxes paid by those "job creators", the better it will be for the rest of us.... Oops, sarcasm there. 
Update 2/26/2012:  Not only is CNS either clueless or intent on deceiving their viewers, apparently so is CNN, or at least Jack Cafferty at CNN.  He also had a blurb this past week about "unemployment going back to up 9.0%".   Now his question to his viewers was a bit different.  He asked, "Can Obama Win Reelection if unemployment goes back up to 9.0%?"  That's not quite the same thing as saying "Unemployment has gone back up to 9.0%", but it is clear from the text that Cafferty has no idea what the Gallup poll really shows.  If you do not want to be as clueless as Cafferty or the people at CNS, continue reading.  
What does the Gallup Poll really show?

But the Gallup poll does not actually show what the righties are telling their minions that it shows. The daily Gallup unemployment number is a seasonally UNADJUSTED number based on phone interviews. It does NOT ask the same questions asked by the Census on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics when they determine employment and the official unemployment rate.  Nor  does Gallup select samples of people to question in the same manner that the Census does for the BLS. But the BLS numbers and the daily Gallup numbers DO tend to rise and fall in tandem. 

When you are looking at seasonally unadjusted numbers, you can only compare those numbers to the same numbers a year previously. We all know that January and February are low-hiring times. Holiday workers were laid off in late December/early January, spring workers (landscape people, construction people, seasonal attractions help) have not yet been hired, and the "unadjusted" unemployment rates are always several tenths of a percent higher than the seasonal rates during the first three months of the year. 

But CNS apparently knows that its readers are low-information or just plain stupid, so they don't bother with any of those details.

How do things compare to a year ago?

So what was the Gallup daily unemployment number a year ago, on February 20, 2011? 10.1%. What is the Gallup daily unemployment number today, February 20, 2012? 8.9%.  That's over a full percentage point down. 

What was the BLS unemployment number for February 2011?  It was 8.9%, a full 1.2% lower than the Gallup number. So what might the February 2012 BLS unemployment number be if it follows the same pattern as last year? 7.7%? Could unemployment really fall by six tenths of a percent this month? 

That seems like quite a decline, but, in any event, even the Gallup poll, with which the manipulators at CNS are trying to deceive their stupid readers, shows surprisingly good news.. NOT bad news. 

Update 2/26/2012:  The Gallup unemployment number for February 24, 2011 was 10.3%.  The most recent Gallup unemployment number for February 24, 2012 is 9.2%, a difference of 1.1%.  (In February 24, 2010, it was 10.4%.)  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Will I Have To Be Drug Tested To Get Unemployment Benefits?

What About Drug Testing?  Am I Going to Have to be Drug Tested to Continue Getting Unemployment Benefits?
(Updates linked at bottom.)
Here's my take on this, based on reading the new law.  I'm not an expert, so this is strictly my (educated) opinion:

I believe that there will be very limited to no drug testing of people applying for unemployme­nt compensati­on.  First, here's the wording of the law: 

"(l)(1) Nothing in this Act or any other provision of Federal law shall be considered to prevent a State from enacting legislatio­n to provide for—

(A) testing an applicant for unemployme­nt compensati­on for the unlawful use of controlled substances as a condition for receiving such compensati­on, if such applicant—
(i) was terminated from employment with the applicant’­s most recent employer (as defined under the State law) because of the unlawful use of controlled substances­; or (ii) is an individual for whom suitable work (as defined under the State law) is only available in an occupation that regularly conducts drug testing (as determined under regulation­s issued by the Secretary of Labor); or 

(B) denying such compensati­on to such applicant on the basis of the result of the testing conducted by the State under legislatio­n described in subparagra­ph (A)."

Here's what I think it means:

1. Each state has to pass such a law. If your state doesn't pass such a law, you don't have to worry about the drug testing. 

2. States that do pass such a law can only test if the person was laid off from his/her last job due to drug abuse (but you can't probably couldn't collect unemployme­nt compensati­on if you were laid off for drug abuse) or if the ONLY "suitable work" a person could get requires a drug test. Since most people can find multiple types of occupation­s as "suitable work", this will be a hard provision to define or enforce. 

3. It says testing "an applicant"­. This would seem to mean that people who are already collecting­; that is, people who have been approved and are passed the "applicant­" stage would NOT be required to pee in a cup. 

4. Any law passed by a state would probably be challenged on fourth amendment (unlawful search) grounds, so it would probably sit in the courts for a while.

5. Finally, there is no money going to the states, as far as I can tell, for administra­tion of such a program or for defending it in court.

I would be surprised if, given the situation and the constraint­s, many states enact such a law... other than punitive states like Virginia, Florida, Georgia and a few others.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Here's an update about all laws involving drug testing of people receiving various government benefits.  Note that while such legislation has been introduced in many states, most of these laws are stuck in committees for the reasons that I predicted above.

The Mutt Romney Blues

Seamus sings the Mutt Romney Blues with help from Ry Cooder.  

Click YouTube clip below

Seamus, the Romney family's late Irish Setter, sings the Mutt Romney Blues with help from the great American guitarist and folksinger, Ry Cooder.  Seamus was strapped in a kennel on top of the family car for a 12 hour road trip many years back.  As someone says in the video, this incident has been "dogging" Romney for years.  Brave New Films put this together on behalf of poor old Seamus.

How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Will I Get Now? (Updated September 25, 2016)

What's Going On With Unemployment Insurance Benefits Compensation Extensions?

9/25/2016 Update:  Still no update; same as below.  There are NO FEDERAL unemployment extensions these days.  There are no EUC08 benefits available for 2016.  In fact, some Republican-led states offer 20 or fewer weeks of unemployment benefits, which you can see on the map and chart below.  As long as the unemployment rate continues to go down, don't expect any more unemployment benefit extensions.   However, a few states have programs that provide some extra weeks of unemployment benefits.  Massachusetts, for instance, has a "Section 30" program providing extra weeks of benefits if people are in approved training.  Please check with your state Department of Labor to determine if your state has any such programs, and, if so, what the requirements of such programs are.  
11/5/2015 Update:  Still no update.  There are NO FEDERAL unemployment extensions these days.  There are no EUC08 benefits available for 2015.  In fact, some Republican-led states offer 20 or fewer weeks of unemployment benefits, which you can see on the map and chart below.  As long as the unemployment rate continues to go down, don't expect any more unemployment benefit extensions.   However, a few states have programs that provide some extra weeks of unemployment benefits.  Massachusetts, for instance, has a "Section 30" program providing extra weeks of benefits if people are in approved training.  Please check with your state Department of Labor to determine if your state has any such programs, and, if so, what the requirements of such programs are.  
1/31/2015 Update:  Well, no update.  There are NO unemployment extensions these days.  In fact, some Republican-led states offer 20 or fewer weeks of unemployment benefits, which you can see on the map and chart below.  As long as the unemployment rate continues to go down, don't expect any more unemployment benefit extensions.  
8/3/2014 Update:  The Republicans in the House blocked the Senate-approved bill to extend unemployment benefits that is mentioned below; it was never brought to a vote.  And last week the Republican-led House of Representatives went on their 5 week August vacation.  It is doubtful that extended unemployment benefits will be approved.  The map in blue below show the current number of weeks that people can expect to get unemployment insurance.  The best synopsis of the current situation is presented HERE, by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).  
From the article:  "Democrats have met every condition that Republicans have set forth to extend the program. We have agreed to offset the cost of the program, despite the fact that House Republicans have passed more than $700 billion in unpaid-for tax cuts, largely for big corporations. We have agreed to extend the program prospectively, rather than retroactively. And we have urged connecting the legislation to a jobs package such as legislation to extend Highway Trust Fund. 
By wide margins, Americans favor extending the program. Still, Republicans continue to block a single vote in the House.
The fight to renew unemployment insurance has always been about those who are most affected. This is about the forgotten Americans struggling just to make ends meet. Hundreds of people like Josephine have contacted my office to share their heart-breaking stories and ask for support from Congress. We hear them, we stand with them, and we urge House Republicans to end their resistance to an extension."  
We need to remember that the Republicans have repeatedly blocked job creation bills, even those that help veterans, and that the Republicans consider anti-environmental and anti-regulatory bills as "job creation" bills.  
4/30/2014 Update:  The Senate did approve a bill to extend unemployment benefits retroactively to December 28, 2013.  That bill was passed by the Senate April 7.  As of April 30, 2014, the House, led by Republican Speaker John Boehner, has refused to consider the bill even though it is paid for.  Republican Boehner apparently claims that there are no "job creation" measures in the bill.  We need to remember that the Republicans have repeatedly blocked job creation bills, even those that help veterans, and that the Republicans consider anti-environmental and anti-regulatory bills as "job creation" bills.  
3/13/2014 Update:  The Senate apparently has come to a deal to extend unemployment benefits.  However, it will need to be approved by the Senate and then sent to the House before it becomes law.  It will not be voted on by the whole Senate before March 24th, and, if it musters the sixty votes needed for passage in the Senate, it will then need to go to the House. Its fate in the House is not certain.  The compromise bill would, if it does become law, provide benefits retroactive to December 28, 2013.   
Important Note:  ALL extended unemployment benefits expired the week ending December 28, 2013.  

MORE HERE:  Unemployment Extensions Expire: What Does That Mean?

Below is the map from the Center on Budget and Priority Policies with maximum weeks of unemployment that are available now, in late 2016, after unemployment extensions expired and were not renewed.  The link above at the Center on Budget and Priority Policies explains why some states have more or less than 26 weeks of benefits available.

The table below (from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities HERE) shows the information above in list form; that is, the latest three-month average unemployment rate for each state over July-September 2015, as well as the maximum number of weeks of UI benefits currently available in each state through regular UI.  The maximum number of weeks of UI benefits have been updated for 2016, but the 3 month unemployment average has not yet been updated.

Unemployment Rates and Weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) Available
Unemployment (3 month avg.)
Reg. UI available
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
20 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
District of Columbia
26 weeks
12 weeks
14 weeks

26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
16 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
30 weeks
20 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
13 weeks
28 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
New Hampshire
26 weeks
New Jersey
26 weeks
New Mexico
26 weeks
New York
26 weeks
North Carolina
13 weeks

North Dakota
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
Puerto Rico
26 weeks
Rhode Island
26 weeks
South Carolina
20 weeks
South Dakota
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
Virgin Islands
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks
West Virginia
26 weeks
26 weeks
26 weeks