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Unemployment Extension Update - January 7th, 2012

Unemployment Extension Update – January 7th, 2012

A quick update about the recent Federal unemployment extension legislation that just passed:

Key points:

  • Congress voted to extend Federally funded unemployment benefits through February 2012.

  • This extension does not provide additional weeks. Rather, it allows Americans receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) to continue receiving these benefits through the end of February.
  • 99 weeks continues to be the maximimum number of weeks available (depending on your state).

 

Legislation Background and Details

The recent bill that passed in Congress just before the end of 2011 provides for an extension of the payroll tax holiday, prevents a decrease in physician reimbursement related to Medicare, and allows for the continued extension of Federal unemployment benefits, as described above.

With disagreement between Democrats and Republicans about how to fund these measures, this bill was debated at length. Members of Congress were aiming for a one-year extension of these provisions. A two-month compromise was reached, leading to the Feburary deadline that is now in place.

You can expect to hear more about these programs as Congress votes again in coming weeks.

Extended Benefits Reminder

You may be eligible for Extended Benefits if you have already received the maximium number of state benefits (26 weeks) and EUC benefits (up to 53 weeks, depending on your state).

In order to receive Extended Benefits (which provide an additional 13 to 20 weeks of unemployment compensation), the average “unemployment rate” in your state over the last three months must remain higher than the same figure over the last few years.

Currently, 33 states qualify for Extended Benefits.

 

We wish you prosperity in 2012, and will keep you informed as soon as additional legislation information becomes available.

 


What do YOU think Congress should do about the unemployment situation? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

 

Is Unemplyoment Really Improving?

Is Unemplyoment Really Improving?

    “The unemployment rate fell to 8.6% … This is the lowest rate in two years.”

If you take look at the unemployment statistics reported by Washington, you might think that the economy is turning around.

We decided to dig into these figures and see what they are really saying.

The results may surprise you …

The Unemployment Rate – Simple Math

Let’s take a quick look at how the unemployment rate is calculated:

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Unemployment Rate = Unemployed Workers / Total Workers

Here’s an example: Let’s assume you have a country with 1000 people:

  • Total Workers = 600 (the other 400 people are children, students, retired, or unable to work).
  • Unemployed Workers = 60
  • Unemployment Rate = 60 / 600 = 10%

If 5 jobs are added, the number of unemployed workers drops to 55, and the unemployment rate falls to 9.2% (55 / 600).

8.6% — You Must Be Kidding!

Here in the United States, there is a little trick to the unemplyoment rate calculation. The rate can fall because new jobs were added (like in our example above), or because the number of Total Workers falls.

Continuing with the our example, let see what happens when the number of Total Workers falls:

  • Total Workers = 590
  • Unemployed Workers = 50
  • Unemployment Rate = 50 / 590 = 8.5%

As you can see, when 10 Unemployed Workers “decide to leave the work force” the unemployment rate suddenly improves.

Did You “Leave The Workforce”?

What the government statistics show is that the workforce got smaller. They say that this is because people retired, or “gave up looking for work”. As a result, the unemployment rate appears lower, which suggesting that the economy improved.

The Bottom Line

The good news is that there were approximately 120,000 jobs created last month. This is real progress.

The Unemployment Rate, fell, in part, due to an increase in the number of Americans who “decided to leave the workforce”.

 

What are your thoughts on these government statistics? Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

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American Jobs Act Update - December 2nd

American Jobs Act Update – December 2, 2011

Last week, President Obama signed into law the Vow to Hire Heroes Act. This new law covers one of the many proposals put forth in the American Jobs Act.

 

American Jobs Act – background

Back in September, the President introduced the American Jobs Act, which had four primary areas of job creation:

  • Construction: Projects to improve basic infrastructure, roads, and schools will help employ thousands of workers in construction related fields.
  • Teachers: Aid to state and local governments will help keep teachers employed by using funds to prevent layoffs.
  • Veterans: Businesses will be given tax credits for hiring returning veterans.
  • Long-Term Unemployed: Employers will receive a $4,000 tax credit for hiring long-term unemployed workers. Note: They are defining “long-term” as six months or more.

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In addition, the American Jobs Act would allow for an extension of unemployment benefits through the end of 2012.

Over the last couple of months, the American Jobs Act has not received enough support on its own in order to be passed into law. Recently, specific components of the legislation, e.g. support for veterans, have been brought forth on an individual basis.

 

Vow to Hire Heroes Act

The legislislation enacted yesterday addressed the aspect of the American Jobs Act that addresses the 850,000 American veterans who are out of work. Specifically, it provides an incentive for businesses to hire veterans: A $2,400 tax credit for hiring veterans who have been out of work for four months, and a $5,600 tax credit for hiring veterans who have been out of work for six months or longer.

Of note, this bill received a unanimous vote of 422 to 0 in the House of Representatives.

While veterans represent fewer that 10% of Americans who are out of work, the passage of this bill may encourage Congress to consider further aspects of the American Jobs Act.

 

 

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