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

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.