Some Job Stats are Frightening: Millions Stand to Lose Unemployment Benefits

December 14, 2012

Job Hunt, Unemployment Stats

Get Hired Fast - job statsSome job stats are simply more frightening than others. And one of the scariest? About 2.1 million U.S. residents who receive unemployment insurance might lose their benefits at the end of this year.

You can blame this on the seemingly unending Congressional negotiations over the impending “fiscal cliff.” If legislators can’t agree on a package of revenue cuts and tax increases by Dec. 31, the following day a series of automatic program cuts and tax hikes will kick in.

And if that happens? Extended unemployment benefits might come to a sudden end for more than 40% of the nearly 5 million U.S. residents now receiving unemployment insurance.

A Serious Matter

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote a feature story about the impending end of these unemployment insurance benefits. And the story should serve as a wake-up call to anyone mired in a lengthy career search today: It’s more important than ever for the unemployed to use all of the tools at their disposal to find a job.

The unemployment benefits that could end after Dec. 31 are being made now through federally backed emergency unemployment programs that Congress adopted in 2008, according to the Wall Street Journal story. They were designed to serve as a supplement to state-level unemployment benefits that typically offer six months of unemployment insurance.

An Improving Jobs Market?

There are both critics and proponents of the extended unemployment benefits offered by the federal government. Supporters say that the extended benefits have served as a lifeline to struggling job seekers. Critics say that the generous benefits may be prolonging joblessness by inspiring the unemployed to ease up on their job searches.

Some job stats can’t be debated, though: The number of U.S. residents on extended unemployment insurance has fallen steadily since early 2010. Back then, more than 6 million U.S. unemployed workers were receiving the benefits. That number dropped to about 3.5 million at the start of this year and is now down to 2.1 million.

That, at least, is positive news.

A Job Search Boost

That good news, though, doesn’t offer much hope to those job seekers whose job searches seem to be stuck. Even as the national unemployment rate falls, there are still far too many U.S. residents out of work. And that has increased the competition for jobs.

If you need help finding a career or making a job change, sign up for our Get Hired Boot Camp. Our career pros can help you tap all the job-seeking tools at your disposal.

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