The economy added 288,000 jobs in June while the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 212,000 jobs to be added. It marks five straight months of job growth over 200,000 and is the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008. 1.38 million jobs have been added to the economy since the start of the year, 1.16 million of them in the private sector.
The retail sector added 40,000 jobs in June while leisure and hospitality added 39,000 and manufacturing added 16,000. Job growth was also strong in professional and business services, which added 67,000 jobs, and food service and drinking places, which rose by 33,000.
Job gains in April and May were revised upward by 29,000 jobs over what was previously reported, with April going from 282,000 to 304,000 and May going from 217,000 to 224,000.
BREAKING: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sets up vote for unemployment insurance extension this week - @thehill
Senate deal would provide retroactive benefits to more than 2 million people.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on a House bill that the Senate will use as a vehicle to pass an unemployment insurance extension likely by Friday.
Reid filed the motion to end debate on H.R. 3979, the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, which the House passed earlier this month.
H.R. 3979 aims to exempt volunteer firefighters and EMTs from being considered full-time employees under ObamaCare mandates. Reid will use that bill as a way to send a five-month unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill back to the House.
Since Reid filed cloture, that would set up a vote as soon as Friday but Democrats are hoping to reach an agreement to hold the vote Thursday evening.
Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have put together a plan that would provide retroactive benefits to more than 2 million people who lost federal help after the program expired on Dec. 28.
The Senate has failed to pass two other UI extensions, but this time the legislation has five Republican cosponsors, meaning it could overcome the 60-vote threshold of a filibuster.
It would use several offsets to pay for the $10 billion cost of extending the benefits, including pension smoothing provisions from the 2012 highway bill, which were set to phase out this year, and extending customs user fees through 2024.
The Senate deal also includes an additional offset allowing single-employer pension plans to prepay their flat rate premiums to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
The measure would also prevent millionaires and billionaires from receiving the federal benefits.
The proposal also includes language pushed by Collins to strengthen reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) and re-employment services (RES) programs, which provide help to unemployed workers when they enter their 27th week of benefits.
Despite the likelihood of Senate passage, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he won’t consider the Senate deal because it doesn’t include job-creating measures. But Senate passage will put pressure on Boehner to do something.
The emergency federal program kicks in once workers who continue looking for a new job have exhausted benefits, usually after 26 weeks.
Republicans want to blame Pres. Obama for the weak economy, but we’ve seen them block proposals that could help improve it time and time again.
This is only just the latest example: http://on.msnbc.com/1eUTH6S
Why do you think this happens?
By David January 14, 2014 8:02 am North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said over the weekend that he was forced to cut funding for long-term unemployment insurance to stop “migration” for the “very generous benefits.” North Carolina Republican…
"Congress should end the federal unemployment insurance program and return the authority back to the states, which already have programs in place," said Andy Roth, the Club’s top congressional lobbyist. "Absent this, Congress should pay for this extension by cutting spending elsewhere in the budget. After six years, an extension can no longer be called an "emergency" with any credibility. There is plenty of waste in the federal budget from which to find an offset."
The legislation scheduled to come up for a procedural vote on Monday, requiring 60 senators to move forward, renews the emergency unemployment benefits program for three months. The bill doesn’t specify an offset, although Democrats have proposed various ways to pay for it, from cutting agriculture subsidies to unwinding tax loopholes for corporations.
With unemployment insurance set to expire on Saturday, the White House is seeking to pressure Congress into extending benefits when it returns next month.
While on vacation Friday in Hawaii, President Obama called two senators — Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nevada — who are sponsoring a bill to extend the jobless benefits.
The president promised to push Congress on what he called an “urgent economic priority,” said the White House, reports the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Gene Sperling — the director of Obama’s National Economic Council — issued a statement saying that “never before have we abruptly cut off emergency unemployment insurance when we faced this level of long-term unemployment and it would be a blow to these families and our economy.”
Sperling’s full statement:
"As the President has repeatedly made clear, it defies economic sense, precedent and our values to allow 1.3 million Americans fighting to find jobs to see their unemployment insurance abruptly cut off — especially in the middle of the holiday season.
"These are our neighbors, our community members and often fellow parents who depend on this as a temporary lifeline while they are actively looking for new jobs to support their families and make ends meet. Never before have we abruptly cut off emergency unemployment insurance when we faced this level of long-term unemployment and it would be a blow to these families and our economy.
"While we remain disappointed that Congress did not heed the President’s call to extend emergency unemployment benefits for next year before the holidays, the President as well as the Democratic Congressional leadership have made clear the importance of extending the benefits immediately upon Congress’s return.
"Senator Jack Reed and Senator Heller have put forward bipartisan legislation to extend emergency unemployment insurance for three months which would prevent these 1.3 million workers and their families from losing benefits while giving more time for consideration of further extension through 2014, and Leader (Harry) Reid will bring it to a vote as soon as they return.
"The President strongly encourages both the Democratic and Republican Congressional leadership and their members to support this bipartisan solution and to pass the Reed-Heller bill."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday said that he opposed extending a program to for emergency unemployment benefits because it did a “disservice” to African-American workers. During an interview on Fox News Sunday to hype Paul’s “Economic Freedom…
On a WorldNetDaily column today, Religious Right activist Bradlee Dean warns that President Obama is committed to creating a government system of mass dependency in order to “to destroy what America is.” Dean alleges that Obama wants to “stupefy” young people and keep them illiterate, jobless and on entitlement programs.
“He needed dependents; therefore, he created dependents. Those dependents were sure to keep him in office, and keep him in office they did,” Dean writes. “What would you say if I told you that over 700,000 of the up-and-coming generation graduating from public schools in America each year cannot even read there [sic] own high school diplomas?”
But most Americans are ignorant of Obama’s sinister plot because they just aren’t as smart as Dean: “Oh, how little the American people know about the history of tyrants and dictators like Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, etc.”
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Conservatives are working themselves into a froth about what they believe is the next HUGE OBAMA SCANDAL: allegations that the unemployment numbers were cooked just ahead of the 2012 election.
This scandal may turn out to be just as devastating to the Obama administration as the IRS, Benghazi and Fast & Furious scandals. Not devastating at all, in other words. In fact, this one seems even flimsier than those pseudo-scandals.
New York Post columnist John Crudele, citing one anonymous source, claims that Census Bureau employees have been ordered to make up responses when surveying households for the Labor Department’s monthly unemployment report. Crudele claims to have evidence from 2010 that one Census survey-taker was caught making up numbers to meet a quota. Crudele’s anonymous source claims there were other incidents of surveyors making up numbers, that Census officials encouraged such shenanigans, and that fake-number generation ramped up ahead of the 2012 election.
This, Crudele suggests in a daring leap of logic, probably explains unemployment’s drop to 7.8 percent in September 2012 from 8.1 percent the month before.
That drop was reported on Oct. 5, 2012, just a month ahead of Election Day, and immediately seemed suspicious to conservatives like former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
Conservatives were aflutter again on Tuesday about Crudele’s column, with CNBC forehead-vein-farmer Rick Santelli declaring himself and Welch vindicated, and failed GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain tweeting.
But sorry, Herman Cain, no. “The employee who did it” does not say that. In fact, there is no such employee in Crudele’s report. Crudele cites only an anonymous source who generally claims that numbers were made up. The “employee” who allegedly “did it” is one guy who allegedly made up numbers in 2010, which careful readers will note was two years before the election. That employee was not accused of raising or lowering unemployment figures — just of making up numbers to meet a quota of households.
Obviously, if the Census Bureau is telling employees to make up numbers one way or another, that’s a problem. Neither the Census Bureau nor the Labor Department had anything interesting to say about Crudele’s report when contacted by The Huffington Post, although a Labor Department spokesman said the Commerce Department was investigating the claims. The Census Bureau, which is a part of the Commerce Department, did not confirm or deny that statement.
The country may celebrate the service and sacrifice of its veterans on Monday, but it does not make reentry into civilian life easy, particularly for today’s returning vets. They struggle to find jobs, grapple with poverty and its devastating effects, are disproportionately homeless, and even when they do have a home have recently suffered improper foreclosure. Once members of the military return home, here are some of the economic challenges they face:
1. Unemployment: While all veterans currently have an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent compared to the national average of 7.3 percent, recent vets are clearly having a tough time getting a job. Those serving since September 2001 to the present have a rate of 10 percent, meaning 246,000 recent vets are out of work, a figure that has risen by 37,000 since last year. Recent female vets also have a higher rate than male ones, 11.6 percent compared to 9.6. Recent vets are also more likely to have a service-related disability than past periods — 28 percent versus 14 percent of all veterans — and of those, around 70 percent were in the workforce, compared to 87 percent of those without disabilities. While the unemployment rate for returning vets has been declining, the challenges they have faced in returning to the civilian workforce have been devastating and may be linked to higher suicide rates.
2. Poverty: In 2010, more than 986,000 veterans under age 64 had been in poverty during the previous year. Their exposure to poverty makes the safety net all the more crucial for veterans: One in five households that relies on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has a veteran in it, and they also rely on food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That’s why the recent automatic SNAP cut is impacting about 900,000 veterans. LIHEAP is on the sequestration chopping block, while food stamps are likely to be cut even further during negotiations over the farm bill.
3. Homelessness: Veterans are disproportionately likely to experience homelessness. While they make up 7 percent of the general population, they are 13 percent of adults who are homeless. In a recent survey of homeless people in San Francisco, more than a quarter had served in the military, and on a given night in 2012, the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that over 62,000 veterans were without a home. While overall homeless vets tend to be heavily male, female veterans make up the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
4. Mortgage problems: Foreclosure rates among members of the military have been very high since the crash in 2008, with more than 20,000 active-duty veterans and reservists with government-sponsored mortgages losing their homes in 2010. That figure was up 32 percent from 2008 and was the largest loss since 2003. Worse, up to 5,000 active members of the military may have been improperly foreclosed on thanks to robosigning and falsified paperwork and others were overcharged on their mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is on the case in protecting veterans, and President Obama announced a plan to address improper foreclosures in early 2012 that had a particular emphasis on helping military veterans.
Fox Business host Stuart Varney believes that the ongoing government shutdown, while presenting no real threat to the economy, offers an opportunity to “punish” federal workers for “living on our backs.”
On the October 2 edition of AM 560’s The Big John & Amy Show, co-hosts John Howell and Amy Jacobsoninterviewed Fox Business’ Stuart Varney and asked him about the government shutdown and its effect on workers and the economy. Varney stated, incorrectly, that the shutdown was not having an impact on financial markets or the greater economy before launching into a tirade against federal employees.
Varney had this to say:
HOWELL: Do you think that federal workers, when this ends, are deserving of their back pay or not?
VARNEY: That is a loaded question isn’t it? You want my opinion? This is President Obama’s shutdown. He is responsible for shutting this thing down; he’s taken an entirely political decision here. No, I don’t think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don’t. I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.
Fuck you, Stuart Varney!
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — With changes to its unemployment law taking effect this weekend, North Carolina not only is cutting benefits for those who file new claims, it will become the first state disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless.
State officials adopted the package of benefit cuts and increased taxes for businesses in February, a plan designed to accelerate repayment of a $2.5 billion federal debt. Like many states, North Carolina had racked up the debt by borrowing from Washington after its unemployment fund was drained by jobless benefits during the Great Recession.
The changes go into effect Sunday for North Carolina, which has the country’s fifth-worst jobless rate. The cuts on those who make unemployment claims on or after that day will disqualify the state from receiving federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation. That money kicks in after the state’s period of unemployment compensation — now shortened from up to six months to no more than five — runs out. The EUC program is available to long-term jobless in all states. But keeping the money flowing includes a requirement that states can’t cut average weekly benefits.
Because North Carolina leaders cut average weekly benefits for new claims, about 170,000 workers whose state benefits expire this year will lose more than $700 million in EUC payments, the U.S. Labor Department said.
Lee Creighton, 45, of Cary, said he’s been unemployed since October, and this is the last week for which he’ll get nearly $500 in unemployment aid. He said he was laid off from a position managing statisticians and writers amid the recession’s worst days in 2009 and has landed and lost a series of government and teaching jobs since then — work that paid less half as much. His parents help him buy groceries to get by.
“I’m just not sure what I’m going to do,” said Creighton, who has a doctorate. “What are we to do? Is the state prepared to have this many people with no source of income?”
With the changes to North Carolina law, state benefits will last three to five months — at the longer end when unemployment rates are higher. Qualifying for benefits becomes more difficult. Weekly payments for those collecting the current maximum benefit of $535 drop to $350, falling from the highest in the Southeast to comparable with neighboring states.
Other states this year cut unemployment benefits and restricted eligibility, but none included drops in weekly benefits, said George Wentworth of the National Employment Law Project, a worker-advocacy group.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, expanded rapidly during the Great Recession, when millions of workers lost jobs and entered poverty, forcing them to turn to the government’s social safety net for help. But even as the economy has begun to recover, SNAP “isn’t shrinking back alongside the recovery,” the Wall Street Journal warned today.
States and the federal government both expanded SNAP access before and during the recession in an attempt to extend more aid to struggling Americans. That has led Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) aching to cut the supposedly “unsustainable” program, since its costs and enrollment are both at record levels. In the piece, the Journal admits that “the biggest factor behind the upward march of food stamps is a sluggish job market and a rising poverty rate,” but it then asks whether those expansions have made the program far more costly over the long-run and wonders why SNAP enrollment hasn’t dropped along with unemployment rates:
The food-stamp rolls have swollen since 2008 and are projected to stay that way for years. In 2008, SNAP enrollment was 28.2 million. Unemployment peaked in October 2009 at 10% and was at 7.7% as of February, but SNAP kept growing.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts unemployment will drop to 5.6% by 2017 but that SNAP enrollment will drop slightly to 43.3 million people, down 4.5 million from the current level.
That makes it very different from the other big federal support program, unemployment insurance, which shrinks as the economy improves. Continued jobless claims dropped to 3.1 million in February after peaking at 6.6 million in May 2009.
Unemployment insurance enrollment has dropped because it is based on unemployment. SNAP, however, is based on income, which is why it tracks not with the unemployment rate but with poverty levels, as this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows:
That SNAP isn’t shrinking at the same rate as unemployment insurance isn’t exactly a shocking revelation, especially since 58 percent of the jobs created since the recession are in low-wage sectors that are less likely to pull workers out of poverty and off of food stamps. The poverty rate rose sharply after the recession, and it hasn’t dropped significantly since the recovery began. But for all the concerns about SNAP’s long-term costs, the program is projected to return to its return to its historical spending levels by 2023:
The Journal actually acknowledges that the expansions make little difference in the cost of the program, but not until the second-to-last paragraph. “The Congressional Budget Office said reinstating eligibility limits would save around $4.5 billion over 10 years, a fraction of the program’s total cost over that time,” it writes there, all but admitting that the reason SNAP expanded is not because the government made it easier to enroll but because the economy contracted and plunged millions of people into poverty. That, in short, is exactly what the program is supposed to do.More info on how conservatives lie about food stamps:
More sites that debunk the Wingnut Conservative lies about food stamps:
Is there a more sniveling, dishonest bunch of cretins than those in right-wing media?
On Sunday, economist Paul Krugman hit back against GOP claims that public sector employment has increased under Obama, and that such jobs consist mainly of wasteful bureaucrats and somehow count less economically than private sector ones. Back in September it was tea party Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) toeing that line, and this morning it was former Republican gubernatorial candidate Carly Fiorina.
The exchange commenced immediately after Krugman made the point that, had government employment in the current recovery followed the same path it followed under previous recessions in the Bush and Reagan years, unemployment now would be slightly above 6 percent:
CARLY FIORINA: I think it’s important to remember, when we talk about the economy, that a private sector job and a public sector job are not the same things. They’re not equivalent. I’m not saying public sector jobs aren’t important. But a private sector job pays for itself. A private sector job creates other jobs. A public sector job is paid for by taxpayers. […]
PAUL KRUGMAN: But when we say public sector jobs, it is not a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.
FIORINA: Oh, it is, actually.
KRUGMAN: When we talk about public sector jobs — when we look at the ones that have been lost in large numbers in this — it’s basically school teachers. Don’t think about bureaucrats. It’s school teachers. What we’ve laid off hundreds of thousands of school teachers.
And when we talk about the cuts in public spending that have happened, they are not, you know, some god awful who knows what. It’s actually public investment. It’s largely fixing potholes and repairing bridges.
So, you know, you have this image of these wasteful bureaucrats doing god knows what. What we’ve seen is an incredible drought of basic infrastructure, and laying off hundreds of thousands of school teachers.
FIORINA: It is a fact that virtually every department in every organization in Washington, D.C. has seen its budget increase for the last 40 years. That money is being paid to hire people. The number of people who are — of course there are some teachers…
KRUGMAN: The vast bulk of public sector employees are at the state and local level. They are largely school teachers plus police officers plus firefighters. And your notion that it’s all these bureaucrats — that’s a myth that’s used…
FIORINA: It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. We don’t have enough private escort job creation.
It’s a myth. Public sector jobs at the federal level have actually remained pretty stable over the last forty years. They began and ended the period around approximately 2.8 million, with a bounce to about 3.1 million circa-1990. Public sector jobs at the state and local levels increased significantly over those forty years, peaking at a bit over 19 million total when President Obama entered office. (They’ve fallen since, accounting for the decline in overall public employment.) But nearly all of that growth was in teachers and support staff for the education system, who now total nearly 7 million of those state and local workers.
The other major categories of jobs in state and local public employment are, as Krugman noted, police, firefighters, health care workers, and maintenance workers and drivers for the country’s transportation infrastructure. And the overall population of the country has also been growing, so even though the raw number of state and local workers increased significantly, the ratio of those workers to the overall population did not — 59 per 1000 in 1980 versus 65 per 1000 today.