It appears there is a significant amount of ignorance on unemployment on here
Edited on Sat Feb-06-10 07:38 PM by AllentownJake
First reality. The BLS labor statistics are not hard numbers. They are estimates done based on a telephone poll. The weekly numbers to businesses the monthly numbers to workers. They have a model of what they think the labor force is, and they call people till they reach the demographics they are looking for. It works the same as any other poll conducted. The sample is a little bit larger, but same principles. Unemployment payments, actual payroll numbers, or any other thing you will imagine is not included in the BLS calculation. The number you see on the news isn't even the real number. The number is seasonally adjusted to account for industries that only employ people part of the year.
Second reality. The unemployment office in reality is a computer or a telephone. Very few states are actually running unemployment offices where you talk in person to real people. Forget what you saw in history of the world and Seinfeld. All of the work is done on the initial claim, where you may get a phone call with a question, other than that, it is all computers, claims processors, and automated telephone lines. They actually actively discourage you from calling in PA.
Third reality. Unemployment extensions. Very few people don't qualify and it is generally done automatically. From talking to relatives, don't know myself, I'm still on my first 26 weeks.
Fourth reality. The labor market is abysmal. We'll just say the U6 number for January is correct (it isn't). 16% of the people out there are either unemployed, underemployed, or part-time and want to be full-time. So imagine what happens when a job opening is announced. I have a friend in HR, they get a couple hundred applications for each opening.
Fifth reality. If the extended benefits were cut foreclosures would probably double or triple, the recovery would die overnight, the banks would collapse, homelessness and children under state supervision would explode and probably half the states and cities in the union would declare bankruptcy within 2 months the rest to follow within 6. Double dip recession? Shit it would make 1933 look pleasant. We'd probably actually have a French style Revolution or the US government would be required to move troops from Afghanistan into major US cities under martial law.
In 1991 I had a two month gap between jobs. I didn't know there was such a thing as unemployment compensation. I found out I had to sign up for it in my own area, which for me was in a very depressed neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. People told me not to take my car there as it was likely to be stolen or vandalized. I took the elevated train and walked a couple of blocks in January.
When I got to the office there must have been 200 people in line. I waited 7 hours to see someone face to face. There was no drinking fountain or bathroom or food machines, so I was pretty miserable by the time my turn finally came up. I complained about the circumstances to the clerk and she said "you're a nice white lady, maybe somebody will listen if you complain about it to the right person". She asked me a bunch of questions about the job I lost and when I left I had no idea whether I would get any money or not.
It was exhausting and humiliating. I did collect, but that day was so unpleasant I didn't want to ever have to do it again. The process now involves one phone call to open the claim and the rest can be done by phone or on the internet. Its MUCH BETTER now than it was 20 years ago.
5. Because I have my own business I am not eligible to collect unemployment.
I have had several clients collecting during the past two years. One has been out of work for over a year and others for several months. My taxes are paying for the extensions and the supplement to Cobra they have been receiving while my profits have been cut in half. Never the less, I am grateful that these people are slowly but surely finding jobs and coming back on my books. If we can all just hold it together and keep supporting each other we make it through the worst of it.
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