99ers, or people that have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits; have recently been confused with those unemployed that will soon lose their benefits due to inaction on the part of Congress to reauthorize the existing Tiers. Some media hacks have confused these two major differences and even gone so far as to confuse reauthorizing Tiers 1-4 with the enactment of a Tier V, falsely getting up the hopes of millions of 99ers that a Tier V will be passed. 99ers that have already been suffering for months, or in some cases for over a year, are being confused with unemployed that have failed to have their benefits reauthorized, but have yet to suffer at all. No one is suggesting that they should suffer, but these two distinct groups of people in our unemployment puzzle are two totally separate pieces even though they fit into the economy right next to each other. One should not be confused with the other.
What do 99ers know that the economist and the rest of the pundits don’t? There are no jobs! No matter how the pundits want to spin the numbers, they’re just talking out their, well I won’t go there. Those of us that know get really irritated by those that are supposed to know, and don’t. Yesterday, when the November unemployment numbers were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many pundits, including people covering Wall Street, simply said the numbers couldn’t be right because “all the other data” that they use to pre-forecast the results said otherwise. 99ers that can still see the forest for the trees knew otherwise, for they have a very simple test, there still are no jobs! In truth there are fewer jobs this month than last month. There are significantly less jobs this month as compared to two months ago.
One of the critical statistics released on Friday, and one of the metrics I like to watch closely, is the employment level. Although we were expected to pick up jobs due to holiday hires in November, this apparently didn’t happen as the total number of jobs dropped from 139,061,000 to 138,888,000 a drop of 173,000 JOBS, JOBS, and JOBS! Why the BLS touts a gain of 39,000 jobs in some specific sector while ignoring this basic overall statistic never ceases to amaze me. This statistic has seen a drop for the last two months in a row down 503,000 jobs, yes over a half a million jobs, in the last two months alone.
How people expect 99ers to find jobs when we are still losing them just baffles me. What part of “it’s obvious” can’t they understand? The economy at least from a job creation perspective is not improving! If this type of forecasting is what we can expect form our “experts”, then we need some new “experts.” Maybe we can give some of the 99ers a job prognosticating what the future holds for unemployment, as our experts just aren’t getting the job done!
In some of the other key statistics reported on Friday, the total number of unemployed jumped 276,000 from 14,843,000 to 15,119,000 in November. Of these, the total number of those unemployed 27 weeks or longer (up to a total of 99 weeks) increased for the 2’ND month in a row (this is even more severe that it looks as new 99ers lose benefits every week and are no longer counted). The trends over the last three months for those unemployed 27 weeks or longer: 6,123,000 (Sept), 6,206,000 (Oct), and 6,313,000 (Nov). In what has become a national “nightmare” millions of 99ers are being asked to “just find a job” without any form of safety net when there are simply no jobs to be found. A perfect Catch 22!
There is no clear government statistic that tracks the number of active 99ers in our society. They have simply fallen off the grid. But they are there…uncounted and desperate. Many a plea has been made to Congress to address this issue by both reauthorizing the existing Tiers and by beseeching them to add additional weeks as an expansion to the existing Tiers or by creating a Tier V. Covering the currently estimated over 6 million 99ers trying to survive without unemployment benefits is going to be a challenge. Without a substantive change in the way we operate regarding the long term unemployed we are headed towards anarchy if we chose not to provide over 12 million long term unemployed with some type of safety net going forward. We MUST create an expansion to the unemployment benefits NOW and maintain it until new jobs are created on a consistent basis.
Regarding the notion that if we just let the benefits expire, the long term unemployed will get off their lazy butts and go out and get a job; if this form of “tough love” is supposed to work, you would think it would have worked by now. It doesn’t work because it doesn’t fit reality. What is real is that people cannot find jobs that don’t exist. Until job creation can be manufactured, we must stand by those in great need until new jobs are being generated. We hold these truths to be self-evident.
Bureau of Labor Statistics