Showing posts from January, 2011

99ers Not Going to Take It

The latest piece from ConcernedInKY:

An Uncertain Future After Jobless Benefits Expire

We've covered the story of Bud Meyers, one of Nevada's #99ers, before.Now, the Associated Press has an interview with Bud.More than two years after Meyers lost his job as a Las Vegas Strip bartender and nearly eight months after he exhausted his unemployment benefits, it has come to this: a careful inventory of a life's possessions and the hopeless embrace of a future as a middle-aged homeless man."I can't believe this is happening to my life," Meyers, 55, said on a recent afternoon, as he surveyed the one-bedroom apartment he must soon abandon. "It's a social holocaust."The full story is posted on the AP wires.

Open for Questions: The State of the Union and the Economy

Update:Michael Thornton, the Rochester Unemployment Examiner who has been providing extensive coverage of the 99ers, reports on Austan Goolsbee's roundtable:I wrote Mr. Keller prior to his appearance and he was glad to have the opportunity to represent and Examiner's readers at the question and answer forum. I mentioned to Mr. Keller that many 99ers would appreciate having their issue raised to Mr. Goolsbee and Mr. Keller didn't disappoint. He mentioned that 75% of Examiners' responses were concerned about long-term unemployment.From the White House:Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, answers questions about the economics issues the President discussed in his State of the Union Address in a roundtable's Jay Keller presented a question on behalf of the 99ers. Fast forward to 06:58 for the question and Goolsbee's reply.

Florida's H. B. 509 - A Bad Idea

Update: from The Political Carnival - Unemployed Floridians bristle at being called lazy, incompetentA new bill, H. B. 509, has been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives. Marcia Heroux Pounds, writing in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, reports:A bill introduced this week by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) would make four hours of volunteer service mandatory for each week of jobless benefits.H.B. 509 would change eligibility so that an unemployed individual could receive benefits only if the Agency for Workforce Innovation confirms that she or he has volunteered for a minimum of four hours for that week for a nonprofit organization.The requirement also would apply to those receiving extended benefits.In December, then Gov.-elect Rick Scott's transition team recommended that the state's unemployed receiving 12 or more weeks of benefits do community service.State unemployment compensation is an insurance benefit.Imagine going to the doctor's office or to the …

Ali Velshi: Dear Mr. President

1.4 Million Have Been Out Of Work For 99 Weeks Or Longer: Congressional Research Service

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal's Real-Time Economics blog picks up on the story: "99ers More Likely to Be Older, Married, Minority"Arthur Delaney, writing in The Huffington Post:There are 1.4 million "very long-term unemployed" who have been out of work for 99 weeks or longer, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service.The 1.4-million figure, calculated using the latest data available as of October, is much smaller than some home-cooked estimates circulated online by advocates for additional weeks of benefits for these "99ers." Some of those estimates are as high as 7 million.The full CRS report is available as a PDF.(Editor's note) Based on the CRS' report, we will continue to use the BLS numbers as provided to provide a month-by-month look at the 99ers.

Guest Post: Technology, Unemployment, and Our Children’s Future

This is a guest post from Hunter Richards of Software Advice.
IT spending has risen dramatically over the last 40 years…
IT spending has steadily risen since 1970. Trendlines and new opportunities like cloud computing suggest that the current dip in spending is only temporary.
…making us more productive…
Technology has made labor more productive. There's a long-term upward trend in labor output rates, and it isn't slowing down.
…which has led to rapid growth in corporate profits.
The resulting productivity has been great for business – greater productivity means higher profits. But these profits don't benefit everyone. They accrue to the executives and shareholders.

"Pretty Awesome Teamwork"

Update: 9 News in Denver, CO has picked up the story: "99ers band together to save a life" An example of the potential for good that social media offers.@ConcernedinKY posted a video to YouTube: Important Message to all 99ersIn response, a commenter, PeterInFremont, posted:I have no choice but to give up. My rent is due tomorrow (21st) and I have 18 bucks and change in my pocket. Tonight? will be last time I'd sleeping on a bed in a warm room, I dont think I will last on the streets, conceivably, tomorrow will be last time I wake up.I am not religious man, but, may God helps whom still hanging on the hope one day their life will be back to "normal". I thank God that I don't have anyone counting on me for their survival.May God bless you all.On Twitter, suzeyQ41 notices Peter's comment and posts a call for help:Help! #99ers! One of us is in trouble! Read comments!@KimDoyleWille takes it from there:@suzeyQ41 @Jane…

News From Crew of 42: Reps. Lee, Scott Get 99er Bill Ready

The latest news from Lauren Victoria Burke at Crew of 42:Today, I spoke briefly with Rep. Barbara Lee, who along with Rep. Bobby Scott, pushed legislative language to help people who have already ran through their unemployment insurance (the 99ers). The two lawmakers offered legislation in late December to help the 99ers after a push to add the language to the $800 billion tax bill failed. Look for them to re-introduce 99er legislation within the next three weeks.(read the full story on

Towards a More-Comprehensive Estimate of UI Exhaustees - the 99ers

The term "99ers" describes those people who meet the following three conditions:They are unemployed;They are still looking to find work;They have exhausted their state and federal unemployment benefits.
They're called 99ers because 99 weeks is the maximum limit for benefits:26 weeks from state unemployment insurance (UI) programs;53 weeks (maximum, in four tiers) from the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program;20 weeks (maximum, in two tiers) from the federal Extended Benefits (EB) program.
The various tiers of EUC and EB are based on, and triggered by, a state's unemployment rate. This chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities breaks down the tiers of the EUC and EB programs:

There are two important points to note:Not all UI exhaustees have reached a maximum limit of 99 weeks: some people will still be looking for work and exhaust benefits at 60 weeks. Some will hit their state's maximum limit at a point between 73 and 93 weeks. This …

Examiner: As Tier 5 Unemployment Extension Fades, Agencies Try to Help 99ers

Naomi Cohn, writing as the National Unemployment Examiner, reports:The New York State Department of Labor has started a new page on its website directed at the long-term unemployed, including 99ers, a department spokesperson said yesterday.Both the federal government and the states are attempting to deal with increasing numbers of long-term unemployed, both those who have exhausted all available benefits - the 99ers - and those who are slated to do so within the next few months.

Jobs, not 'deficit,' should be the focal point of the State of the Union

From John Amato at Crooks and Liars:Focusing on the deficit only strengthens the GOP's hold over this administration and the media narrative, when what Americans are really interested in JOBS. Republicans only care about the deficit when they can use it like a sledgehammer to pulverize any Democratic administration as a way to justify their insane beliefs that the working class are only cattle to be used as goods. (full article)

Do Extended Unemployment Benefits Increase Unemployment?

h/t Kim Doyle WilleAccording to a report prepared by Goldman Sachs, no.Some commentators have argued that extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are the key reason for high unemployment in the United States. Using data from 20 OECD countries we present evidence to the contrary. Our results suggest that only ½ percentage point of the current 9.4% jobless rate can be explained by the extension of UI benefits. Moreover, our calculations suggest that this effect will fade when the extended benefits eventually expire. These estimates—broadly in line with a recent study by the San Francisco Fed—reinforce our view that the overwhelming share of unemployment is cyclical rather than structural.The full story was published on The Awl.

Ninety-Niners Want To Be Heard

In her own words, 99er Dawn Rayner shares frustration of long-term unemployed. ABC News reports:

An Interview With Bud Meyers

Nicole Sanders, who started the website and who has lent her voice in support of the long-term unemployed, interviewed Bud Meyers, whose online posting has caught the attention of CNN, the Huffington Post (here and here) and other media outlets, on her radio show today. The discussion begins at the 1:45:10 mark.

From Wall Street to Main Street

Americans are still looking for work even as banks' outlook brightens. ABC News reports:

A Man's Tale of Jobless Benefits

The fate of the 99ers comes to a head when one man appears to threaten suicide over the loss of his job. CNN's Ali Velshi reporting:

Employer Discrimination Against The Unemployed Must End

This article, written by Mitchell Hirsch, has been cross-posted from with permission.
When Michelle Chesney-Offutt was laid off from her job in 2008, just two days before Christmas and five days before her 19-year anniversary with an IT service provider, it was certainly bad enough. Then, last year, after a daily and seemingly endless job search, she received a call from a headhunter, who had obtained her online resume, and was excited about her qualifications. Eager to schedule an interview for Michelle with his client, the headhunter suddenly recanted when he noticed that she had been out for work for more than a year."When he realized this, he was very apologetic," she wrote to us recently, "but had to admit to me that he would not be able to present me for an interview due to the 'over 6 month unemployed' policy that his client adhered to." The headhunter, she told us, explained to her that his client had expressly prohibited him fr…

Depression Economics: What happens to people when their unemployment insurance runs out and they still can't find a job?

Annie Lowrey, who has been covering the 99ers for Slate and the former Washington Independent, has a new article online:"...the recession has not meant just more joblessness. It has also meant longer joblessness. The average length of a spell of unemployment now sits at 30 weeks, after hitting a high of 35 weeks in July. About 6.3 million people, 42 percent of all unemployed Americans, have been out of work for more than six months. And more than 1 million have exhausted their unemployment benefits. They're called 99ers. (The term, coined this year, refers to the maximum weeks of benefits in the states with the highest unemployment rates.) There are about 1.6 million of them, according to the Department of Labor. And they raise the question: What happens when unemployment insurance ends?The article continues by profiling a 99er from the Boston area, a woman named Rochelle Sevier:At first, Sevier fell victim to her experience: She was overqualified for the jobs she was applyin…

Scott & Lee: A holiday miracle for 99ers?

via Crew of 42:Representatives Bobby Scott and Barbara Lee, writing in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:We plan to push for passage of our "99er" bill into the 112th Congress. We know we have a tough road ahead, but after all, it is the season of miracles. With your support, we can help these conservative "Grinches" grow hearts and vote to help these hard-working Americans get back on their feet. Extending unemployment benefits to buy a little more time for the "99ers" and other exhaustees is the least we can do.Reps. Scott and Lee introduced HR 6556 during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress.

Mikal Donovan - Bring Back the American Dream

Bring Back the American Dream from Mikal Donovan on Vimeo. "Our ancestors came to this great nation with nothing but hopes and dreams in their pockets. Now those hopes and dreams have been stolen from millions of hard working, American people that are unable to find work during this recession. Give them back the American Dream. Extend UI for all until jobs are created. To see other videos in the series subscribe to youtube channel:​user/​concernedinKY"

Rant and Rave - 2011 Showdown: 99ers vs. Washington, DC

smartygirl at RantRave just published a piece that's worth reading in full. The key quote (emphasis mine):What's next? Well silence is not an option. The 99ers will never get ahead on their plight if we do not get the media involved. Groups of 99ers interviewing together would get even more attention. I spoke to a reporter out in Washington State and he told me the problem is not enough 99ers have come forward to tell their stories. Guess what, the local media are very interested in the 99ers, so it is time to step out of the shadows and reveal ourselves in 2011. The only way is to rally the country behind us as soon as congress and the senate return from the holiday break. It is equally important to continue the faxes, phone calls and emails to the media, president, governors, senators and congress. Never let up for one moment. At one time I even had an idea for all 99ers to mail your resumes to your elected official with a note on it asking "where are the jobs?"