Article 43

 

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Austerity American Style Part 19 - Declining Unemployment In A Depression

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The corporate world and our government are becoming indistinguishable, which is one of the hallmarks of FASCISM, or more accurately - CORPORATISM.
- War On Consciousness, Paul Levy, Awaken In The Dream, July 2007

There exists a common theme amidst these signs of societal decay: The super-rich keep taking from the middle class as the middle class becomes a massive lower class. Yet the myth persists that we should all look up with admiration at the “self-made” takers who are ripping our society apart.
- Signs of a Dying Society, Paul Buchheit, 2015

The gap between economic growth and job creation reflects three separate but mutually reinforcing factors: US corporate governance, Obama’s economic policies and the deregulation of US labor markets… In the boardrooms of corporate America, profits aren’t everything - they are the only thing. A JPMorgan research report concludes that the current corporate profit recovery is more dependent on falling unit-labor costs than during any previous expansion… Obama’s lopsided recovery also reflects lopsided government intervention.  Apart from all the talk about jobs, the Obama administration never supported a concrete employment plan. The stimulus provided relief, but it was too small and did not focus on job creation.
- Why The Rich Love Unemployment

More Americans than ever (39%) now think that if people can’t find work for an extended period of time, the government should do nothing at all to help them.
- 39% Say Government Should Do Nothing For Long-Term Unemployed, December 5, 2012”

Failing to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, which has been extended a number of times since 2008 to help those struggling during the Great Recession, will have the opposite effect of what is needed - Americans out-of-work for long periods will have even less to spend, which will further blunt the already-pretty-blunt recovery.
- Kicking Long-term Unemployed to The Curb

A NEW WORKING PAPER from Professor Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, however, suggests that policymakers need not worry: higher unemployment benefits dont seem to affect employment levels the way many economists assumed.
- What Unemployment Insurance Tells Us About Work During A Pandemi, NPR, March 30, 2021

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‘Terrible economics’: These states are declining federal unemployment funds. Experts say that’s ‘a huge mistake’

By Elizabeth Preza
AlterNet
May 9, 2021

Residents in South Carolina and Montana next month will lose access to federal unemployment benefits over what those states’ Republican governors call a “severe workforce shortage.” Experts say the move by Montana’s Gov. Greg Gianforte and South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster is a “huge mistake.”

As ABC News reports, South Carolina and Montana are the first states “to end participation in the unemployment enhancement programs.” That program offered U.S. WORKERS ACCESS TO EXTRA UNEMPLOYMENT FUNDS as part of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden in March.

In a statement announcing SOUTH CAROLINA’S RETURN TO RETUTN TO PREPANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT PROGRAM, McMaster complained: “In many instances, these payments are greater than the worker’s previous paychecks.”

“What was intended to be a short-term financial assistance for the vulnerable and displaced during the height of the pandemic has turned into a dangerous federal entitlement,” he said.

In an effort to incentivize Montanans, Gianforte is offering a one-time “‘return-to-work bonus’ of $1,200 will be paid to people who rejoin the labor force and maintain employment for at least one month,” according to ABC News. That money will also come from the federally-funded American Rescue Plan.

But Economy Policy Institute senior economist Heidi Shierholz says McMaster and Gianforte are making “a huge mistake.”

“The idea that states are just going to forego that and allow all that money to be sucked out of their economy is just terrible economics,” Shierholz told ABC News. “I just deeply hope that you don’t see more states following this path because it’s a huge mistake.”

Shierholz said the narrative of a “severe workforce shortage” driven by increased unemployment benefits is based on a FALSE PREMISE. Currently, federal unemployment benefits offer laid-off workers an additional $300 per week, down from $600 at the end of last of July. According to Shierholz, IF MONEY WAS THE MOTIVATOR, that decrease from $600 to $300 would have made a marked difference in the unemployment rate last year.

“You should have seen a bump up in employment, and you can’t see that in the data so it just points to that it wasn’t really causing the labor supply effect,” Shierholz said. “It’s just difficult to imagine that something half that big is having any effect now.”

And Shierholz is far from the only expert who warns that hiring issues in South Carolina and Montana won’t be solved by depriving residents of enhanced unemployment benefits.

ABC News reports:

William E. Spriggs, an economist and professor at Howard University, said in an interview with ABC News that there is no data to prove that unemployment checks are preventing Americans from returning to work.

“There’s no job shortage, in terms of workers. There’s a wage shortage,” said Spriggs, adding that research shows many employers “want to pay rotten wages and have rotten hours.”

Last week, the Washington Post published an analysis that likewise DISPELLED THE FRAMING OF A “WORKER SHORTAGE” BASED ON ENHANCED UNEMPLOYMENT. “At the most basic level, people are still hesitant to return to work until they are fully vaccinated and their children are back in school and daycare full-time,” the Post analysis declares.

Many Americans, the Post reports, are “re-assessing what they want to do and how they want to work, whether in an office, at home or some hybrid combination.”

Still, McMaster and Gianforte are blazing ahead with plans to reopen their respective economies by depriving citizens (and their states) of extra funding during the worst public health crisis in a century. As ABC News reports, experts say “declining to take federal money is going to have a deep effect on the living standards of residents and their families, and likely will worsen those states’ overall economies.”

But for all the hand wringing about disincentivized workers by those states’ Republican governors, Shierholz said the bottom line is “employers are just angry that they are unable to find workers at relatively low wages.”

“The jobs being posted are more stressful, more risky, harder jobs than they were pre-COVID,” she added. “ ... When the job is more stressful, then it should command a higher wage.”

Update Sun. May 9 | 9:25 AM EST -

WMC Action News reports that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday also “ordered the state’s DIVISION OF WORKFORCE SERVICES to end Arkansas’ participation in federal pandemic unemployment programs.” That order goes into effect on June 26; the federal unemployment benefit program will run until September.

SOURCE

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If Businesses Are Competing With UI For Workers, They’re Doing Something Wrong

By Eric Sherman
Forbes
May 25, 2021

One state, two states ҅ make it 23 AT LAST COUNT that are cutting the $300 additional weekly unemployment benefit as early as June.

Who says the national government bosses around the states? If they dont want their citizens to have access to that money, they’ll cut the stream like a financial shut-off valve. At least 3.6 million citizens LEARNING WHOSE IN CHARGE, according to the Washington Posts count.

“You’re not the boss of us,” the states say to the federal government, followed by a look at those on unemployment and a sneering, “Now you’ll see whos in charge.”

It comes down to jobs, the proponents of stopping the benefits say. All these people preferring to stay home and getting an extra annualized $15,600 rather than coming in and doing what theyre told for minimum wage, which even if it were $10 an hour nationally, which it isn’t, would be $20,800 a year if the workers got a full 40 hours a week, which it isnt. During April 2021, average weekly hours for retail - one of the lower-wage sectors of the labor economy - were 31.0. FOR LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY, otherwise known as the people who are paid to make you happy while you’re eating, drinking, staying in a hotel, or going to a theme park reopening, it’s 26.7 hours.

At $15 an hour, that means you can make $20,826 for a 52-week year, no vacation. Because if you were just better and worked harder, youd have a job that would give you some time off. But, no, you’re a lazy bum who wants to be on unemployment to make more money than you could do cleaning someone elses toilet or listening to people hurl abuse because their Ҽber burger doesnt have enough mustard on it, damnit.

And companies wonder why they can’t get people to return to their exciting, self-empowered jobs that still expose them to all the walking excretory processing units who refuse to get a vaccine or wear a mask because no one should make demands on them.

SOURCE

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Half Of States Are Ending Pandemic Jobless Aid Early, And The Economy Could Suffer

NPR
June 3, 2021

As the economic recovery picks up steam, new claims for state unemployment benefits have fallen to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic. And, citing a severe shortage of workers, HALF OF THE NATION’S GOVERNORS have decided to end extra federal jobless benefits early - well before they’re due to expire in early September.

But cutting off those extra benefits - which amount to about $10 BILLION PER WEEK - is a big mistake that could hurt the economy just as it’s getting back on its feet, said Dan Alpert, a senior fellow in macroeconomics and finance at Cornell Law School.

“If we terminate those benefits earlier, as many Republicans have suggested, what we’re going to be doing is bringing forward a contraction in spending,” Alpert said in an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition. “And that’s really going to be a problem ... not just for the households, but for the local economies as well.”

Why it’s so difficult to fill low-wage jobs

Alpert said state and federal benefits average about $750 per week across the country, and that can make it difficult for employers in lower-paying jobs to fill openings.

“It’s just common sense,” he said. “If you’re paying $500 a week to your employers, you’re not going to get somebody who’s receiving $750 in benefits back to work.”

But when those benefits run out, Alpert said, “this $10 billion a week, that’s going to be eliminated when these people resume those low-income jobs. And that’s a big problem for the recovery from the pandemic.”

He said it makes no sense for governors to cut off those federal benefits because those receiving $750 a week are “spending pretty much all that money into the economy. So ... you’re effectively removing that money” from the economy.

Governors are citing worker shortages as a reason to cut jobless benefits

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan became the latest Republican governor to announce an end to enhanced pandemic federal unemployment benefits. Hogan cited the economic recovery and a high COVID-19 vaccination rate for the state’s adults.

Economy Still Down 8.2 Million Jobs Since Beginning Of Pandemic

“While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply, Hogan said. He said businesses “are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe WORKER SHORTAGES.”

It’s not just Maryland. A lack of available workers has been cited around the country.

“It remained difficult for many firms to hire new workers, especially low-wage hourly workers, truck drivers, and skilled tradespeople,” the Federal Reserve said this week in its latest report on economic activity.

Wages are starting to rise as an incentive to hiring

And, the central bank said, a growing number of employers are offering signing bonuses and increased starting wages to attract workers. In its April employment report, the Labor Department said the rising demand for labor as the economy rebounds from the pandemic “may have put upward pressure on wages.”

Average hourly earnings jumped 21 cents in April, to $30.17, though the year-over-year increase was just 0.3%. In May, private economists estimate that earnings surged more than 1% over the past 12 months.

The official jobs report for last month is due from the Labor Department on Friday. Private analysts project that the economy added more than 600,000 jobs in May, up from the weaker-than-expected 266,000 jobs added in April.

New claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 20,000 - to a level of 385,000 - for the week ending May 29, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s the lowest level since March 14, 2020.

“At the current rate, we should be around the typical pre-COVID level for state claims - about 200,000 - later this summer,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union.

SOURCE

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Florida woman sues DEO for unemployment benefits

By Rochelle ALleyne
Fox 4 News
June 28, 2021, updated June 29, 2021

Frustrated and let down. That’s where current wait times for unemployment benefits, have left Nikasha Wells.

“I feel like at a time when I feel like I needed my state the most, that they have really let me down,” she said.

You may remember the West Palm Beach mom from a story we did nearly two months ago when she reached out to FOX 4 to help to get her checks.

At that point, she’d been waiting about four months and the time has continued to drag on.

“I should not have to wait six months to access a state agency,” she said.

In that time she says she’s reached out to the state Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for help in getting her account unlocked and getting her money, but claims she’s only gotten radio silence in response.

So today, she got the court involved.

“I had to file a lawsuit in Leon county, basically asking for the money that I am entitled to which at this point is in excess of 10,000 dollars,” she said.

Court filings show that Wells is owed $11,500 in retroactive benefits.

Local lawyer Maria Alaimo tells FOX 4, that the only thing that surprises her about this case is that Wells didn’t file sooner.

“Honestly, I thought it was about time to do something because I’ve heard a lot from different sources and people,” she said, “I think it’s very much a valid case in the sense that it appears from what we can see from the pleadings that she has tried every way she knows how to through and say here’s this problem, I haven’t been paid, I need to be paid, I made my claim.”

Wells tells FOX 4 she thinks it’s ridiculous that it’s come to this, but adds that she hopes that her lawsuit inspires others to follow her lead.

“I’m just infuriated and I am hoping that my lawsuit is the beginning of a wave of change for how this department is operating,” she said.

FOX 4 reached out to the DEO for a response to this lawsuit. They acknowledged our request but didn’t send us an answer in time for broadcast.

The DEO has 20 days to respond to her suit once they’ve been served.

CAPE CORAL, FLA - UPDATE:

Wells has contacted FOX 4 to say that a Florida Department of Economic of Opportunity (DEO) representative has called her and unlocked her account.

A spokesperson for the DEO also sent FOX 4 the following statement:

Thank you again for reaching out to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The Department remains committed to making sure all eligible claimants receive the benefits they are owed as quickly as possible.

The Department is unable to comment on pending litigation.

Listed below is more information about this process:

Claimants who have already verified their identity through ID.me, but their CONNECT accounts remained locked, now have the ability to notify the Department of their “Locked” claim status in their CONNECT account.

Claimants should visit the Reemployment Assistance Help Center [mobile.connect.myflorida.com] to notify the Department that their Reemployment Assistance claim is locked. In the Reemployment Assistance Help Center, select I am a “Claimant,” and then select “Account Login Assistance,” then select the next series of options that match their log-in issue to notify the Department.

Claimants who have successfully completed the verification process with ID.me, do not need to re-verify with ID.me.

If a claimant has not completed the ID.me verification process, click here [hosted-pages.id.me].

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 06/06/21 •
Section Dying America • Section Austerity American Style
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