Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Jobless Claims Worsen

According to data released by the government today, the Labor Department said that 480,000 people filed for initial jobless benefits during the week of December 12th---vs. 473,000 people in the prior week.

Continuing Claims also worsened in the week to 5.186 million people collecting unemployment benefits during the week of 12/5/2009.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's the Maximum Weekly Unemployment Benefit?

If you're recently unemployed, you may be wondering what the maximum weekly amount of money that you may be getting from the government. Fortunately, MSN Money published a comparison of how much your UI benefits could be... Note: The amount you get depends on the state in which you worked, not the state that you may move to during your jobless time.

Maximum Weekly Unemployment Benefit By State
  1. Alabama - $255
  2. Alaska - $370
  3. Arizona - $240
  4. Arkansas - $409
  5. California - $450
  6. Colorado - $475
  7. Connecticut - $519
  8. Delaware - $330
  9. District of Columbia (Washington DC) - $359
  10. Florida - $275
  11. Georgia - $330
  12. Hawaii - $545
  13. Idaho - $362
  14. Illinois - $385
  15. Indiana - $390
  16. Iowa - $443
  17. Kansas - $423
  18. Kentucky - $415
  19. Louisiana - $284
  20. Maine - $496
  21. Maryland - $380
  22. Massachusetts - $628
  23. Michigan - $365
  24. Minnesota - $566
  25. Mississippi - $230
  26. Missouri - $320
  27. Montana - $407
  28. Nebraska - $308
  29. Nevada - $362
  30. New Hampshire - $427
  31. New Jersey $584
  32. New Mexico - $455
  33. New York - $405
  34. North Carolina - $494
  35. North Dakota - $385
  36. Ohio - $372
  37. Oklahoma - $392
  38. Oregon - $482
  39. Pennsylvania - $539
  40. Rhode Island - $528
  41. South Carolina - $326
  42. South Dakota - $285
  43. Tennessee - $275
  44. Texas - $378
  45. Utah - $444
  46. Vermont - $409
  47. Virgina - $378
  48. Washington - $541
  49. West Virginia - $424
  50. Wisconsin - $363
  51. Wyoming - $387
The amount of money received during Tier 2 and Tier 3 payouts are the same as what is received during the first phase of unemployment. The numbers above do not include the extra $25/week that Obama approved, so your checks may actually be slightly higher, as long as the stimulus plan is still in affect.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

California Computer Glitch Prevents 111,000 Unemployment Checks from being Issued



California's Unemployment Office (EDD) has a computer glitch that is preventing unemployment checks from going to 111,000 out of work Californians. There's too many unemployed Californians for the 30 year old computer system (Even though they were given funds in 2002 to upgrade the departments IT system).

Hat tip to Unemploymentality.

New College Graduates Having a Tough Time Finding Work



This Channel One story reports how recent graduates from college are having a tough time finding work. Just 5 years ago the unemployment rate for college graduates age 20 - 24 was just over 2%. Today it is almost 10%---And many more grads are forced to work jobs that don't match their major.... And Sadly, many students graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans---consequently, they boomerang back into their parents' home.

Who is (or isn't) Counted as Unemployed?



This little 2 minute video does a good job in explaining how the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures who is Unemployed, who is not in labor market, who is marginally in the labor market and who is working part time for economic reasons.

Only people who are "Unemployed" are counted in the (10%) unemployment rate. The other 3 categories may or may not be included in the U-6 Broader measurement of unemployment (~17%). The video pokes fun that the government would rather have the public and media focus on the smaller number in order to keep optimism high.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

High Unemployment Makes People Fatter?

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Great Recession has caused people to start eating worse---People without jobs have to buy more processed foods and less fresh foods, and those with jobs are having to work more (forgoing trips to the gym.)

Consequently, in the last year the rate of Obesity has gone up 1 percentage point to 26.4%.

*******************************************************
Personally, I don't quite believe that there is a cause & effect relationship here. This is because, in my own anecdotal conversations, the unemployed have discovered the gym in their down-time and according to stats, hours worked each week has actually gone down in the last year... My guess is that it's just the continuation of the trend that Americans are getting fatter.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Texas Raising Unemployment Insurance Taxes in 2010


According to the Houston Business Journal, the state of Texas is going to raise the taxes from 0.46% to 0.72%.

That means an employer will pay $64.80 in tax per employee in the 2010 calendar year compared with $23.40 per employee in 2009.

The TWC attributed the rate hike from 0.26 percent to higher unemployment insurance outlays this year.

The tax revenue replenishes the fund that pays workers who involuntarily lose their jobs. About 67 percent of experience-rated businesses pay the minimum.

Meanwhile, the maximum tax rate - paid by 3.3 percent of Texas employers - will increase to about 8.6 percent, up from 6.26 percent, this calendar year. The average tax rate will rise to 1.83 percent from 0.99 percent in 2009.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jobless Workers in Pennsylvania Now Get 99 Weeks of Unemployment

Jobless workers in Pa. now eligible for 99 weeks of benefits

HARRISBURG, Nov. 6 – State Rep. Marc Gergely lauded President Obama for signing federal legislation today that will provide up to 20 additional weeks of unemployment benefits to jobless workers.

Gergely is the architect of state legislation that was enacted in September that provided seven additional weeks of benefits.

"This important action means many Pennsylvania families that are struggling to find work will have access to a total of 99 weeks of state and federal unemployment compensation benefits," Gergely said. "On the state level, it builds on the change to the law that I sponsored which extended benefits for seven additional weeks to 79 weeks using federal dollars."

Gergely said the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 8.8 percent in September means Pennsylvania is automatically eligible for the additional 20 weeks of benefits for a total of 99 weeks. Under the federal legislation, all states receive 14 more weeks and states with unemployment rates above 8.5 percent will receive 6 additional weeks of benefits on top of that.

"Extending this critical safety net helps thousands of Pennsylvania families who have exhausted their benefits or are close to having their modest unemployment compensation checks come to an end. Hard-working people who are trying to find work will be able to pay their mortgage or rent, feed their children and live with dignity."

Gergely said that in Pennsylvania, regular unemployment compensation benefits are available for 26 weeks, but about one-third of the nation's unemployed have been out of work for a longer period.

"The global economic downturn continues to make it difficult for many workers to find employment, so Congress and the states have appropriately responded by extending emergency federal unemployment compensation benefits several times in the past few months."

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry will contact unemployed people who are eligible for the extended benefits directly by mail. More information about unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania is available on the department's Web site at www.dli.state.pa.us.

Do I get 99 weeks of unemployment?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the maximum amount of unemployment insurance jobless Americans can now receive is 99 weeks---That's almost 2 years of benefits while you're looking to get a new job!

In order to get the additional 20 weeks, your state would need to have had an unemployment rate in excess of 8.5% during the previous 3 months.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When Does the COBRA subsidy expire?

If you are one of the millions of unemployed workers that have taken advantage of the 65% federal government subsidy for your COBRA health insurance coverage, you may be wondering when that benefit expires.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the subsidy lasts 9 months---so for millions of people who signed up for the coverage in March 2009, they are seeing their health insurance coverage rates rapidly increase. These people will be forced to either pay the higher COBRA rates or shop around for online health insurance quotes.

Even though, congress has extended unemployment insurance benefits to up to 99 weeks, I am not sure if Obama will extend the COBRA subsidy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Auto Insurance Price Quotes

If you're recently unemployed, you really need to change your spending to get more inline with your income (i.e. a small severance and tiny unemployment insurance checks)... This means scaling back on the dining out, cutting the cable bill, no more star bucks coffee---And getting new auto-insurance quotes.

Odds are if you're no longer driving to work, your total miles driven will be lowered. Consequently, it's the perfect time to shop around on sites like esurance.com and geico.com to see if you can save money on your car insurance---Look to lower your miles and possibly raise your deductible in order to reduce your premiums.

Unemployment Medical Insurance

If you're recently unemployed, you need to figure out what to do concerning your families health insurance---Odds are pretty good that your employer will take you off their health plan real quick. So you may be asking yourself, "How can unemployed workers get the best health insurance?"

Fortunately, the state of New York has issued several health insurance options for the unemployed. These options include:

  • COBRA
    • You have the right to continue your group plan through a COBRA policy. If your group has less than 20 employees, you have a similar right under the NYS continuation of coverage law. You will be required to pay the full cost of the coverage, including any portion your employer formerly paid on your behalf. Your employer should notify you of your right to this coverage upon termination of your employment. If you have not received notice, contact your employer or call this Department for assistance at 1-800-342-3736.

    • The federal stimulus package includes a COBRA premium subsidy for eligible people who were involuntarily terminated. For more information on the federal subsidy, please select this link.
  • Individual Insurance Plans---You may purchase individual health insurance for yourself and your family on a direct payment basis regardless of your health status or income. However, these policies may exclude coverage for certain pre-existing conditions if you have not had health insurance coverage within the past 63 days. It is therefore very important not to wait to purchase this type of policy. Individual direct payment policies are offered by all HMOs in New York State. For a list of the HMOs currently offering these plans in your county and the rates, please select this link, or call 1-800-342-3736.
  • Healthy New York-- Healthy New York program offers discounted coverage to individuals who have lost group coverage because they have lost their job and meet certain criteria, including income limits. To learn more about the eligibility for this program, please visit the site at http://www.healthyny.com, or call 1-866-HEALTHY-NY.
  • Child Health Plus--Child Health Plus is a program run by the NYS Department of Health. The program provides free or low cost health insurance coverage to children under the age of 19 whose families meet the program’s income guidelines. To find out more about the Child Health Plus program and its eligibility criteria, you may call 1-800-698-4543, or visit the Web site at: http://www.nyhealth.gov/nysdoh/chplus/index.htm.

Minimum Wage Goes Up, Teen Employment Goes Down

Economist Casey Mulligan has an interesting blog-post on how the recent increase in the minimum wage rate has measurably reduced the amount of teenagers that have jobs.

Michigan's U-6 Unemployment over 20%

According to mlive the broader level of unemployment in Michigan is over 21%.

For the 12 months from November 2008 to October 2009, Michigan had 21.1% of workers either out of a job, or working part time for economic reasons.

Of Michigan's 83 counties, unemployment ranges from ~6% (Mackinac) to ~25% (Baraga County).

Average Hours Worked Per Week Down to 33 hours per week

Click on Chart for a Bigger Image

The average hours worked per week is hovering around record lows of 33 hrs/week. Data has been kept for the last 45 years, and the above chart is for a seasonally adjusted... The worrying aspect of this data is that if production workers aren't yet working close to 40 hours---they may choose to increase the hours of the existing work force before they start adding new jobs to the payroll or bringing back furloughed staff.

California Has Lost 1 million+ Jobs in this Recession

For the movie buffs out there, you may remember the classic movie "Grapes of Wrath" where people who lost their jobs in the dust-bowl drying up agriculture jobs in the midwest loaded everybody up in the car to head to California---Land of jobs and opportunity---Unfortunately, there weren't plentiful opportunities once they got to the golden state.

If you look at data for our Nation's most populous state, you'll see that for the first time ever it has more than 2.2 million people out of jobs (This doesn't include the likely 1 million more who are working part-time jobs even though they want full time work). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in just a few short years the jobless ranks more than doubled from less than 1 million to greater than 2 million.


One thing to note however, is that from 1976 to 2009---The state of California has seen a huge increase in population and hence a big increase in the size of its labor force. In fact over 33 years, it has increased almost 80% from less than 10 million workers to around 18 million workers.

The unemployment rate is just the # of jobless workers divided by the labor force---As you can see, California is seeing record high unemployment rates of 12.5% as of October 2009.
Click on Charts for Larger Image

What is interesting to note is that from April 2009 to October 2009, the BLS thinks that California's labor force dropped by almost 300,000 workers---If you think cynically and say that those people probably really are still in California and not working---The unemployment rate in October would have been closer to 13.9% in California...

Monday, November 23, 2009

China's Empty City

One interesting thing happens during recessions---government officials have a perverse incentive to "save or create" jobs---even if those jobs don't result anything economical (i.e. Dig a Ditch and then fill it up).

Well the Chinese did this on a grand scale. They built a city for 1 million people in inner mongolia that sits empty---because the existing city (30 miles away) is still vibrant and affordable. Essentially, they wasted capital and jobs on an asset that won't be viable for years to come.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Detroit's Unemployment Rate is ~28%


Click on Chart for a Larger Image

According to statistics released by the state of Michigan and BLS.gov the state of Michigan had an unemployment rate of 15.3% in September 2009, while jobs in Detroit were twice as difficult to find --- as its jobless rate from September 27.9%.

While you might find it comforting that Detroit's unemployment rate dropped from July 2009 to September; you'll be interested to know that during the same time the labor force shrunk by 8,000 people from 391,000 to 383,000. And the number of people employed dropped from 278,000 in July to 276,000 in September----So in other words, the number of jobs is still on the decline---it's just that the work force was declining at a faster rate.

Disappearing Jobs

A hat tip to the the Great Depression of 2006 blog for posting a link to this video graphic that shows the US unemployment by county for the trailing 12 month average from 2007 to the present.

Latoya Egwuekwe is the creator of the multimedia graphic that shows you just how quickly and how broadly that jobs disappeared from the Midwestern, Eastern, Southern and Western parts of the US. And since the graphic shows the rolling 12 month average, you can rest assured that the next 4 - 6 months will be showing even more of the US losing jobs.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Jobless Rate Doubles; Fannie & Freddie Delinquencies Septuple

Click on Chart for a Bigger Image

Here is an update of a set of data that I've been paying attention to for the last year. It compares the unemployment rate (Blue Line), the U6 Broader Unemployment Rate (Purple Line, which includes the jobless, and the people working part-time for economic reasons) with the delinquency rate on Fannie Mae (Red Bar) and Freddie Mac (Green Bar) mortgage loans on single family homes.

The picture isn't pleasing---You can see that as broad unemployment rate increased from less than 10% to 17.5% (in October, 2009)---The delinquency rate on home loans for Fannie & Freddie (which are typically Prime Loans) have increased by almost 6 - 8 Fold!

Let me repeat that---In Late 2006 and Early 2007, the prime mortgages were delinquent at merely ~0.5%. Now Freddie Mac has a 3.33% Delinquency Rate (September, 2009) and Fannie has a Delinquency Rate of 4.45%.

People should remember that in 2007, the economy & markets started tanking because sub-prime mortgages started going delinquent... Granted, those loans were going bust a significantly higher rate than the Freddie & Fannie notes---but also remember that Freddie & Fannie loan out significantly more money than what was ever given out to sub-prime borrowers... I don't have the data, but I'd venture to say that in order-of-magnitude--these loan delinquencies could be as bad or worse than the sub-prime crises.
The business cycle always has an ebb-and-flow to it. The unemployment rises quickly during the onset of recessions and jobs are added back at a fraction of the pace from which they were taken away.

If you look at the jobless rate during the last 40 years, there were 6 distinct cycles of increases in the jobless rate and the related improvement in the economy. (1969 to 1973, 1973 to 1979, 1979 to 1989, 1989 to 2000, 2000 to 2007 and 2007 to the present (October 2009).

As you can see below the current Great Recession (Green Line) has taken unemployment to the highest point since the 1980's and it has done so at a faster pace.


Click on Images for a larger image


If you just want to concentrate on the change in the unemployment rate, you can see that this recession (Green Line) has risen from the trough at the fastest rate we have seen.

If this recession is going to have the duration of hard-times seen in the 1980's the peak unemployment rate won't happen for another 11 months (September 2010)... And worse yet, you can see from the chart that it usually takes 5 - 6 YEARS before enough jobs are created to bring the unemployment rate back down to pre-recession levels.
Click on Chart for a Larger Image

Sunday, November 8, 2009

10% Unemployment is worse than what it used to be

Yahoo News has an interesting story about how this month's 10% jobless rate is worse than what it was in the 1980's during the last time America saw a 10% unemployment rate.

  1. Americans are carrying a lot more debt.
  2. People are taking at least 10 more weeks on average to look for work.
  3. Fewer people have health insurance

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jobless Rate at 10.2%; Broader unemployment at 17.5%


Hat tip on the Chart to Jake at econopicdata

The jobless rate for October 2009 spiked to 10.2% and if you include the underemployed, it jumped to 17.5%---That's almost 1 out of every 5 workers is looking for a better job.

The average work week remained at a low of 33 hours a week (Usually employers will start increasing hours worked, before they start hiring new employees)...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Florida's Jobless Rate Spikes to 11%

According to the Jacksonville Observer, the unemployment rate in Florida has now breached the 11% mark.

It is the highest unemployment rate for the sunshine state since 1975, and it's up over 4 percentage points in the one year since September 2008.

Fort Walton Beach, Gainesville and Tallahassee – regions known for government, education and military employment – had the lowest unemployment rates, all less than 7.5 percent.

Friday, October 2, 2009

U6 Unemployment Tops 17%

This morning the Bureau of Economic Analysis put out data concerning the unemployment rate for the United States during September 2009. The reported unemployment rate climbed to 9.8% in the most recent month, and the broader total unemployment (aka the U6 Unemployment) climbed to 17%--this figure includes people who are working part time for economic reasons.

EconomPicData does a great job of plotting all types of economic data and today I'm pulling a nice chart that he created that shows just how tightly correlated the Unemployment rate and the U-6 Unemployment rate are.Another disturbing trend that EconomPicData picks up on is the fact that the number of hours worked per week times the # of people employed divided by the population (essentially the number of hours per week worked per capital). And what is disturbing is that it is at a multi-decade low and still dropping; additionally, before companies start hiring new workers they usually start increasing the number of hours worked by their existing work-force.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where are the Jobs?

If you're trying to figure out where the jobs are, indeed.com does a report that shows you what cities currently have the most job postings per capita in United States.

The Top 20 Cities for Job Searches are:
Rank (Last Qtr Rank) Metropolitian AreaJob Postings Per 1000 People
1 (1) Washington, DC133
2 (2) Baltimore, MD90
3 (3) San Jose, CA80
4 (7) Austin, TX56
5 (6) Hartford, CT54
6 (9) Seattle, WA53
7 (8) Salt Lake City, UT52
8 (11) Denver, CO50
9 (5) Boston, MA49
10 (4) Las Vegas, NV49
11 (15) Charlotte, NC49
12 (10) San Francisco, CA47
13 (12) Milwaukee, WI41
14 (30) Atlanta, GA40
15 (13) Cincinnati, OH39
16 (14) Oklahoma City, OK39
17 (22) Orlando, FL37
18 (23) Richmond, VA37
19 (24) Jacksonville, FL36
20 (16) Dallas, TX36

meanwhile the 10 major cities with the fewest jobs per capita are:
40 (44) St. Louis, MO30
41 (39) Portland, OR30
42 (42) New York, NY28
43 (41) Birmingham, AL28
44 (46) Chicago, IL27
45 (43) Riverside, CA26
46 (45) Los Angeles, CA24
47 (47) Buffalo, NY24
48 (48) Rochester, NY19
49 (49) Miami, FL17
50 (50) Detroit, MI15

It probably isn't surprising that Detroit has the fewest jobs per person, and that Washington DC has the most jobs per person. Government jobs and lobbying jobs are in demand as the government runs the printing press to try and save jobs and support the economy. Meanwhile Detroit, LA, Miami, and Chicago are having slimmer pickings.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What are the Top Paying Jobs?

If you're looking at what are the highest paying jobs for graduates from college you should consider engineering, economics or physics.

Payscale.com has put out a comprehensive list for people by college major (not counting people who have attained a graduate degree). You can see what people currently earn (1 or 2 out of college) and what they earn after ~15 years out of school (i.e. graduated around 1995). It may not surprise you, but the more quantitative the field of study, the more opportunity there is for a higher income.

For many of today's unemployed, this is not a possibility, but if you have a child in high school or college, this is important data that you can provide them when they are trying to decide what major to study.

Friday, September 4, 2009

August Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.7%, U-6 Unemployment Rate Nears 17

Click on Chart for a bigger image.

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the United States increased 0.3 percentage points in August 2009 to 9.7%. This is the largest percentage of unemployed workers in America since 1983.
When you combine the unemployed with the underemployed, you get the U-6 unemployment rate--which increased to 16.8% in August 2009.
These two data points coupled with the fact that the average work week was just 33.1 hours in August 2009 means that there is a lot slack in the economy and even people with jobs may be nervous that they could lose them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Detroit's Unemployment Rate Almost 29% in July 2009

Click on Image for a Bigger Chart

According to the State of Michigan, Detroit's Unemployment Rate for July 2009 topped 28.9%--According to the Detroit Free Press, it's the highest jobless rate since records began (in 1970).

In this great recession, the United States has the highest rate of unemployment (9.4%) that it's seen in years, and Michigan has the highest rate of any state in the Union (15%) and Detroit is seeing tougher times than most cities as it lacks a diversified economy and for years has suffered from a corrupt political system and poor educational standards.

Weekly Jobless Claims

This morning CNBC reports that the weekly jobless numbers came in at 570,000 for the week ended August 22 down 10,000 from the prior week (adjusted). This brings the 4 week moving average down to down 566,250 (down 4,750)

GDP for Q2-2009 came in at -1.0%

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What States Have the Worst Unemployment?

The BLS has issued unemployment rates by state for July 2009 and for each state that is has the dubious distinction of being in the "Top-10" states of the worst unemployment rates, they have over 10%++ unemployment rates.

The States with the highest rates of unemployment are:
  1. Michigan 15%
  2. Rhode Island 12.7%
  3. Nevada 12.5%
  4. Oregon 11.9%
  5. California 11.9%
  6. South Carolina 11.8%
  7. Ohio 11.2%
  8. North Carolina 11%
  9. Kentucky 11%
  10. Florida 10.7%
  11. Tennessee 10.7%

If you're one of the jobless in those states and asking yourself, "How many weeks of unemployment do I get?" you'll most likely find that you may be elligable for up to 79 weeks of UI benefits.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weekly Jobless Claims Up Up Up

The weekly jobless claims for the week of August 15th rose to 574,000---That's up 15,000 from the prior week and higher than expected. This increased the 4 week moving average up 4,250 to 570,000 new jobless/week...

The report also showed that 6.24 million people are currently receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Two other interesting tid-bits from the report include:

States reported 2,877,756 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending Aug. 1, an increase of 92,384 from the prior week. There were 1,406,779 claimants in the comparable week in 2008. EUC weekly claims include both first and second tier activity.


The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending Aug. 1 were in Puerto Rico (7.3 percent), Oregon (6.2), Pennsylvania (6.1), Michigan (5.9), Nevada (5.9), Wisconsin (5.5), California (5.3), Connecticut (5.3), New Jersey (5.3), North Carolina (5.1), and South Carolina (5.1).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Unemployment Crisis is Causing Record Levels of Foreclosure Filings


According to a story on the Washington Post, the rate of home foreclosures in 2009 is expected to crest over 1.8 million (vs. 1.4 million in 2008). The main cause for the sharp uptick in foreclosure filings is not the continuation of the sub-prime crisis---but actually the sharp increase in unemployment rates.

As more and more borrowers are significantly underwater on their homes and have living pay-check to paycheck a prolonged bout of unemployment can really drive them to stop paying the bank and walk away from their home.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More and More Unemployed Searching for COBRA Health Insurance

Click on Image for a Bigger Chart.

As the ranks of jobless continue to grow month-over-month the number of searches. As you can see in the screen grab above---the Trend of Google Searches for COBRA in the US has really grown in the last 12 months in the US.

A recent study showed that in 2008, just around 20 - 25% of people eligable for COBRA opted to pay for it---This is probably because back then, the average COBRA health insurance payment sucked away about 80% of the average unemployment insurance check---That doesn't leave much money left over for rent or groceries.

Fortunately, for many Barack Obama and Congress recently passed legislation that provides a government subsidy to cover much of the COBRA health insurance premium payment. This makes it much more affordable---to the point where every recently unemployed family should consider looking into obtaining coverage.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to file for Unemployment Insurance In California

The folks at California's EDD department have put together this 8 minute video clip to help you figure out what you need to do to file for UI benefits in Cali.

As of August, 2009---the maximum unemployment insurance benefit check in CA was $450/week (Plus another $25/week from the Obama UI increase).



The folks at EDD have developed a UI checklist---you'll need:
  • your SSN, name(s), mailing address, phone #, Drivers License #
  • employer name, address, and last day worked
  • Gross Earnings over the last 18 months
  • You must have worked for the last 18 months and be able, available and looking for work
  • To file you can apply over the phone, online, via fax or snail-mail.
  • To file for benefits immediately after losing your job

Hat-tip to unemploymentality for finding this video.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

40,000 Metro Detroiters to Lose UI Benefits



According to the Detroit Free Press, over 40,000 Metro-Detroiters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties are likely to lose their UI benefits by the end of 2009.

In the next 6 weeks, about 10,000 will lose their unemployment benefits and the other 30,000 will have coverage expire prior to 12/31. This will likely result in an increase in people heading to food-banks and seeking other types of government assistance.

As unemployment climbs--birth rate drops

News reports are now starting to pop up that show that during 2008 as the unemployment crept up to decade level highs, the number of births in the US dropped by ~70,000 children in 2008 vs. 2007.

The key reasons for this drop are speculated that fewer people are choosing to have children, and as jobs dried up, the number of hispanic immigrants has slowed---and hispanc immigrants on average have a higher number of children then the rest of the US population.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Unemployment Rate Drops in July

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2009 actually went down vs. the prior month... The drop was 0.1 percentage point from 9.5% to 9.4%... What is interesting, however, is that the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate did not change---It held steady at 9.7% in both June and July.



Click on Charts for a sharper Image.


Additionally, the seasonally adjusted U-6 Unemployment Rate for July also went down (16.3% in July vs. 16.5% in June). However, the non-seasonally adjusted figure stayed at16.% in both June and July. There were two other bits of good news in this week's jobs report.

#1 It was the smallest amount of job losses in about 1 year (~250,000)

#2 The average work week climbed up 0.1 hours compared to the prior period---so the people with jobs are getting a few more hours.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Unemployed College Graduate Sues Her College

Talk about a law suit that doesn't stand much of a chance.

The Guardian reports that Trina Thompson is suing Monroe College in the Bronx for $70,000 because the money she spent on obtaining her bachelor's degree hasn't landed her a job yet.

In my (non-expert) opinion, this court case is going to get thrown out of court faster than a fat man's fork at a smorgasbord.

The story also provided one interesting statistic:

According to a May survey by the National Association of Colleges and
Employers, just 20% of US college students from 2009 who applied for a job had
one when they graduated, down from 51% for the class of 2007.

Friday, July 31, 2009

40 Years of UI Continuing Claims

Click on Image for a bigger chart.

So just how many people are collecting unemployment insurance benefits? As of July 2009, there are more then 6 million Americans collecting UI benefits---This is a record high amount and there is several reasons for this. First, the population is bigger than it has been in the prior 40 years and the amount of availabe workers is also larger than what it was in the decades past. Additionally, many more states are offering extended UI benefits--Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 benefits can stretch benefits out to over 70 weeks in many states.

Nonetheless, there just aren't that many jobs out there and the continuing claims is bound to decrease in the coming weeks---aided of course by people finding jobs, but also from people exhausting all of their benefits.

Looking at the chart, you can see that sometimes continuing claims plateaus and other times it shoots down as fast as it shot up---what will this great recession do? It's anybody's guess---but I feel comfortable in guessing that it will stay above 5 million people for at least another year.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Could Michigan Get Tier 4 Unemployment Insurance

According to the Detroit Free Press senator Carl Levin wants to push legislation that would give Michigan (and any other state with over 9% unemployment) an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits.

That would bring the number of weeks of unemployment benefits to over 80!

Monday, July 27, 2009

1 Week Left to Take Advantage of Sears' Jobless Financing Plan

 

The retailer Sears is offering a plan that provides some peace of mind. If you spend over $399 on your Sear-Citibank credit card through August 1st, and within the next 60 days to 1 year, you lose your job, Sears will make the monthly payments.

Now for those of you who are already jobless this won't do much good, but if you know of people who are working for a company that is likely to lay-off many workers and they happen to need a new appliance, they should definitely consider looking into Sears for this program.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Unemployment Cartoon

This Scott Stantis cartoon (Birmingham News) from July 15th poetically shows a crowd outside of the unemployment office saying, "The president assures us the stimulus package is working, pass it on"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nevada Sets Record high unemployment rate

According to KRNV, Nevada's 12% unemployment rate in June set an ALL-TIME record, with Reno at 11.8% unemployed and Las Vegas at 12.3% unemployed---the major cities are the ones shedding jobs the fastest.

Currently, 170,000 Nevadans are out of work, and hoping that things turn around soon.

California's unemployed now at 11.6%

The unemployment rate in California is now at 11.6%--and is climbing at a slower rate. However, some are concerned that as CA can't balance it's budget, it will be forced to lay-off thousands of government employees (such as teachers, police, and other gov't jobs).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Are you Eligable for the COBRA Subsidy for the unemployed?

From business wire:

Web Site and Toll-free Line Will Help Unemployed Workers Appeal Denials of COBRA Premium Assistance Under Recovery Act


WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced a new Web site ContinuationCoverage.net and helpline (1-866-400-6689) where certain unemployed workers may request expedited review of a denial by their former employers of eligibility for COBRA premium assistance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).



CMS has contracted with MAXIMUS Federal Services, Inc., a subsidiary of MAXIMUS, Inc., to review requests for expedited review of denials and make recommendations — subject to CMS’s review — on whether individuals are eligible for health insurance premium assistance under the Recovery Act’s expansion of COBRA continuation coverage. MAXIMUS will also answer questions about the premium assistance program and the expedited review process. Contact information for the Web site and helpline is provided below.


To help displaced workers maintain health care coverage for themselves and their families, the Recovery Act provides a 65 percent subsidy for health insurance premiums for workers who have elected COBRA after they have been involuntarily terminated from their jobs. “COBRA coverage” generally refers to the continuation of coverage provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), which apply to employers with twenty or more employees. The ARRA-established subsidy is also available to eligible Federal, state, and local government employees, and, if state law requires certain continuation coverage, to workers for private sector employers with fewer than twenty employees.


The Recovery Act’s premium assistance applies to periods of continuation coverage beginning on or after February 17, 2009 (when ARRA became law), and lasts for up to nine months.


To qualify for premium assistance, a worker must be involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, and elect continuation coverage. The subsidy ends when the worker is offered any new employer-sponsored health care coverage or becomes eligible for Medicare. Workers who were involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008, and February 16, 2009, but who failed to elect COBRA coverage at that time, most likely because it was unaffordable, or who elected COBRA after September 1, 2008, but let it drop because it was unaffordable, would be given an additional 60 days after employer notifications are released to elect COBRA and receive the subsidy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Illinois' June Unemployment Rate tops 10%

The ranks of the unemployed in Illinois swelled to 10.3% in June 2009---That's 0.8 percentage points greater than the national average (9.5%) for the same month.

The state lost 5,400 construction jobs and 2,800 manufacturing jobs in June. The total number of unemployed Illinoisans in June was 683,300. That's more than in any month since November 1983.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Many Weeks of Unemployment Insurance Do I get?

cnn has published data that shows how many weeks of UI benefits unemployed workers are eligable to receive. Wyoming gets the least amount of weeks (26 weeks), and a multitude of states are eligable for Tier 2 or Tier 3 benefits that could bring benefit checks coming for up to 79 weeks.

As of June 2009, the states that qualify for 79 weeks of UI benefits include:
  1. California
  2. Nevada
  3. Oregon
  4. Michigan
  5. Colorado
  6. Minnesota
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Indiana
  9. Ohio
  10. Kentucky
  11. Georgia
  12. North Carolina
  13. Alaska
  14. Florida
  15. New Jersey

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michigan unemployment rate jumps to 15.2% in June 2009

Click on Image for a larger chart

According to the Detroit News, the unemployment rate in June for the state of Michigan jumped to 15.2% in the month of June. This is a 110bp jump from the 14.1% jobless rate seen in May 2009.

The ranks of the unemployed continue to swell in Michigan as GM and Chrysler and their suppliers slog through the bankruptcy process.

As bad as things are in Michigan, things are even worse in Detroit---where the May unemployment rate topped 25%.

And the state as whole has already borrowed over $2 billion from the federal government to keep making unemployment insurance payments to the swelling ranks of laid-off workers.

Mendota California---Almost 40% Unemployed

Here's an interesting youtube clip about how tight water controls in California are causing tough times in California's bread basket. Farms outside of Fresno have gone fallow and "George" speculates that as farming and construction jobs continue to disappear in this part of California, you'll see a reverse migration that was seen during the Dust-Bowl migration of the Great Depression (i.e. people will be forced to leave California and move to the midwest, and south where there is more water and more jobs).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

California Food Stamp Usage Up 20%+ In One Year

According to the California Department of Social Services, the number of Californian families recieving food stamps has grown by over 20% in the last year. In April, 2008 there 940,000 families recieving government assitance for the food stamp programs and by April 2009 it was up to 1,150,000 families receiving benefits.

Click on Chart for a bigger image.

You can see that the increase in foodstamp usage correlates with the steady increase in the unemployment rate. And as the great recession continues to slug along, you can be sure that both California's foodstamp usage and number of unemployed workers looking for jobs will continue to increase.




Unemployed Floridians to get 79 weeks of UI Benefits


According to Jacksonville.com, Floridians may be elligible to recieve up to 79 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits. You can apply to receive these Tier 3 UI benefits today.


The unemployed people will be eligable for these benefits on a case-by-case basis thanks to legislation that was signed into law by Barack Obama and Governor Charlie Crist.


Prior to the summer of 2008, Floridians were only eligable for up to 26 weeks of UI benefits. Then Tier 2 benefits were automatically provided bringing coverage levels to 53 weeks of benefits.


Now, the new program is on a one-off basis and is subject to when the person became unemployed, how long he worked and what their salary was before losing their job.


The agency will send eligible recipients the proper paperwork in the mail and is also accepting applications via its Web site at http://www.floridajobs.org/.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Detroit's Jobless Rate at 25%


Click Image for a Larger Chart


According to the Michigan Department of Energy & Labor, in May 2009 Detroit saw it's jobless rate hovering at 24.7% (up almost 2 full percentage points from April 2009, and almost 10 percentage points in the last year).

This compares to Michigan's unemployment rate of 14.1% in May 2009 and the US Average hovering at around 9.4% for the same time. Clearly times are tough for motown, and with auto-sales still at multi-year lows, and Auto-makers and Auto-Suppliers filing for bankruptcy (GM, Chrysler, Lear, Visteon, etc...) it'll be some time before Detroit and Michigan start seeing a decline in the jobless rate and the ranks of the unemployed in this rustbelt state will be higher than the national average for years.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Will Higher Minimum Wage lead to higher unemployment?

According to cnn, the federal minimum wage is set to increase from $6.55/hour to $7.25/hour on July 24, 2009. This is the first raise in quite some time and will only occur in states that have less than $7.25/hour rates currently--All told, this effects 29 states.

You can see on the table to the left which states have the highest minimum wage (Washington, Oregon, Vermont, California, CT, IL, MA, Nevada, New Mexico, Michigan, Rhode Island, Ohio and Colorado)---It's interesting to note that many of these states have extremely high rates of unemployment already, and according to economists there is a risk that when the price of labor goes up---the demand for labor goes down. This could cause yet more increases in the unemployment rate in the US during Q2 and Q3 2009. (Watch out 10% here we come!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Art Cashin Sees 11% Unemployment














Art Cashin, director of Floor Operations for UBS, and frequent CNBC contributer today announced his views that the unemployment for the United States will easily breach 11% later this week.

June 2009 Unemployment Rate Tops 9.5% / U6 Unemployment at 16.5%

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for June, 2009 has climbed to 9.5%. The bad news is that this is the highest rate in almost 3 decades---The good news (??) is that it only climbed 0.1 percentage points since May 2009---In my mind this could mean it will be around September before the unemployment rate possibly crests across the 10% mark.

Click on Chart for a Bigger Image

The U6 Unemployment Rate (which includes the unemployed, the underemployed, and the discouraged) rose to a record high of 16.5% (records only go back to 1994)



According to Reports 467,000 jobs were cut in June 2009, while the continuing claims data actually decreased---But Continuing Claims dropped by 53,000 to 6.7 million---at first glance this may seem like a good thing---But I believe that the amount of people who have used up all of their UI claims more than made up that 53,000 person decrease.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

15 States have borrowed Federal Funds to pay UI benefits



Click for a Larger Image

According to Data from May, 2009---14 states have borrowings from the federal government for funding of their depleted unemployment insurance funds---and in the coming months several more states will be added to the list.

Michigan, California, New York, Ohio and Indiana have borrowed the most money---while Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wisconsin also have borrowed funds.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Worst Unemployment Exhaustion Rate in over 25 Years

The US Department of Labor publishes numbers that detail how the annualized rate of exhausting unemployment insurance benefits changes over time.

The current rate is almost 50% of UI recipients are slated to have their benefits expire in the coming year. This is the highest rate since around 1940---And as you can see in the chart below---by far the highest rate seen in the last 25 years.

Click Image for a Clearer View

So what's the significance of this? On a social stand-point that means more and more people will be losing the government safety net this year and may be forced to look for other government assistance (food-stamps, welfare)---and it also means that in the coming months when economic reporters start telling us about how the "Continuing Claims" for UI benefits is declining, we'll have to be asking, "sure, but how many people have exhausted all their benefits rather than actually finding work?"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Decade of Lost Jobs

Business Week recently published data that shows how many jobs were created and lost by industry during the last decade (May 1999 to May 2009).

The data is plotted below

Click image for a larger chart

What is most noticable is that 5.4 million jobs were lost in the American manufacturing sector---This is a result of cheaper foreign labor driving more Americans from the goods-producing sector and into the service sector.

In total, a little over 3 million jobs were created---With 2.9 million of thoes jobs coming from Private Health Care... It's easy to understand why---health care inflation has significantly outpaced overall inflation for the entire decade, and with the aging baby boomers---more and more people are qualifying for government care---People go to where the money is and money is in health care.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NPR Reports on Long Term Unemployment

NPR reports that the rate of Long Term Unemployed (people out of work for 6 months or more---has tripled in the last year to over 4 million people).

The 3 minute story also includes a couple of human interest stories about some jobless Americans.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oregon Increases the Maximum Weekly Unemployment Benefit Payment


According to the Portland Business Journal, the maximum weekly unemployment insurance benefit for Oregon's jobless is going to climb to $493/week beginning June 28th, 2009.

Oregon reported an unemployment rate in May 2009 of 12.4%--This is one of the nation's worst unemployment rate and the state's jobless will really be able to put the increased weekly payments to meaningful use.

White House states the obvious--unemployment will breach 10%


According to the AP the White House has finally recognized something that seems completely obvious---"The United States will see 10% Unemployment in a few months".

Now with the may unemployment rate being 9.4% and more than a dozen states suffering from double-digit unemployment, it's all but guaranteed that you'll be seeing the average unemployment rate breach double-digits in July 2009.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

5 More States have Double-Digit Unemployment in May

Click for a larger Chart

Things continued to worsen in the month of May for many states. An additional 5 States (TN, IN, KY, FL & IL) and Washington DC saw their unemployment rates jump to over 10% in May 2009.

Now 13 states have unemployment rates breaching double digits with Michigan, Oregon, South Carolina, Rhode Island and California rounding out the top five.

In two short months the states that make up this list have seen, on average, their unemployment rate rise by 0.8 percentage points.


Click for a Larger Chart

The State of California reported that things got worse in May 2009 as the unemployment rate for the Golden State jumped to 11.5%.

This is the highest rate of unemployment since records began being kept over 30 years ago---And there are currently over 430,000 Californians who have been without a job for over 6 months... California is ground zero of a negative feedback loop where property prices are falling, causing more people to lose their jobs, cause more people to lose their homes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

China's solution to the unemployment problem


According to the AFP, Chinese government officials have an idea to reduce the ranks of the nation's unemployed.

China is likely have over 40 million people lose their jobs this year as manufacturing and construction jobs evaporate as the export heavy communist country suffers from a severe slow down in exports. So what's their idea to reduce the unemployment rate? Train people to become housekeepers---The thought is that as the ranks of China's middle class continues to grow and there are plenty of Dual-Income families, the demand for housekeepers is not currently kept.

My guess is that this initiative while it makes for interesting news---it won't cause a meaning decrease in the unemployment rate in China.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Michigan's Unemployment Rate in May tops 14%

Click for a Larger Chart

According to the Detroit News, the jobless rate in Michigan reached 14.1% in May 2009---This compares to 9.4% in the entire United States in May.

The unemployment rate for Michigan was the highest in nearly 3 decades and comes as both Chryler and GM entered bankruptcy.