Good news: A budget deal was reached last night!
Bad news: There’s nothing in the agreement to further extend emergency unemployment benefits.
It’s conceivable that a deal could still be reached on that before next year, but for now the long-term unemployed remain in the lurch.
These two charts show why it’s a total scandal.
The first chart shows the number of unemployed workers divided by the number of available jobs. There’s still nearly 3 unemployed workers for each available job, a level that’s still worse than the WORST level of the last economic cycle.
This next table comes from Michael Strain, a scholar at the conservative (!) American Enterprise Institute.
It shows that in the past, special emergency benefits were let to expire when the rate of long-term unemployment was around 1% or less (see the far right column). Currently long-term unemployment is 2.6% a level that’s MUCH higher than it was in the past.
You can say all you want about how unemployment benefits encourage some people to not work, and at the margins there might be a handful of folks for whom benefits make it compelling not to take a job. But the numbers show that there are still tons of long-term unemployed, and that there are very few jobs out there for them to get.
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