The Dept of Labor just released an analysis of the number of people who would lose unemployment benefits if we were to implement the reductions of up to 40 weeks in the Republicans’ proposed extension. Summing across the states, about 3.3 million would lose benefits.
Review this list with these numbers in mind: according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 3 million job openings in October, about 7 million people on UI, and about 14 million total unemployed. That’s more than four unemployed persons per job opening. And if every single one of those job openings went to people currently on UI, you’d still have around 4 million people on the UI rolls.
Until this economy is generating enough jobs to even approximate the needs of job seekers, it is foolish at two levels to cut the UI safety net. At the micro level, families with jobless members need the money to make ends meet. At the macro level, the fact that these families spend, as opposed to save, UI benefits gives the economy a needed boost.
And yes, I know that such logic is not exactly driving the conversation.