Entries in Unemployment (109)


Workforce Development Programs Offer Solutions to Long-Term Unemployment

Platform to Employment(NEW YORK) -- Six million Americans -- many of them older -- have been out of work so long (two years or more) that they have exhausted all their unemployment benefits.

Many have depleted their savings, and they have little hope of landing a job, partly because employers discriminate against them.

But Joe Carbone thinks he's found a solution to their problem: P2E.

Carbone is CEO of The Workplace, a work force development program in Connecticut that serves the needs of employers and job-seekers alike.  Two years ago, under Carbone's leadership, it came up with "Platform to Employment" (P2E), a five-week find-a-job program tailored to the older, long-term unemployed.

The total number of graduates so far is small -- only 131.  But P2E's record of success is so impressive -- 87 percent of graduates have found full-time work -- that a consortium of employers, philanthropies and interest groups, including AARP, Walmart and Citigroup, are now poised to clone P2E and roll it out across 10 cities.

The fist clone opened in Dallas two weeks ago. The second will open Monday in Cincinatti.  After that, additional offices will open at the rate of one a month in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and other cities.

During each five-week program, 20 people at a time are coached on skills such as public speaking and self-presentation.  Therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists help promote self esteem and self confidence.  Financial counselors help participants repair their credit ratings and get their finances in order.  Finally, P2E helps match graduates with job openings.

The cost per student runs about $6,000, says Carbone, with the money coming mostly from donations.  The amount includes a subsidy that allows a potential employer to "test drive" a graduate at no cost -- during the test period, P2E is paying the graduate's salary, not the potential employer.  The expectation is that somebody who performs well and meets expectations will then be offered a full-time job on the employer's payroll.  This approach, says Carbone, has opened doors for an older, long-term unemployed candidate.

Carbone views the addition of each new P2E center not just as an opportunity to put people to work but also as an opportunity to educate employers and the public about the depth of the plight of the long-term unemployed.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Two Million Could Lose Unemployment Benefits Next Month

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Millions of Americans could be headed off their own fiscal cliff at the end of December unless Congress does something to prevent benefits from ceasing.

Currently, there are more than five million people who have been out of work for at least six months, receiving government assistance, and just over two million of them are on the verge of seeing their extended unemployment benefits disappear on Dec. 31.

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee delivered the dire report on Monday as Sandy Levin of Michigan and Lloyd Doggett of Texas urged quick action on Capitol Hill to assure the checks of jobless Americans keep coming in the New Year.

Levin warned, "Failing to act would push millions of middle-class Americans into poverty and impede our economic recovery."

Still, lawmakers might be reluctant to vote in favor of an extension, given other pressing needs, including expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts that could plunge the U.S. into another recession.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Thousands of Millionaires Collect Unemployment

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new report shows that some 2,400 millionaires received unemployment insurance benefits during the economic downturn, a number that has caught the attention of politicians who funded extensions of benefits for up to 99 weeks as the economy crumbled.

In 2009, 2,362 millionaires received unemployment benefits, down from 2,840 the year prior, according to a study from the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan arm of U.S. Congress that provides policy and legal analysis. Of the 2,362, more than 1,000 receiving unemployment benefits had a household adjusted gross income of $1.5 million in 2009.

The report titled “Receipt of Unemployment Insurance by Higher-Income Unemployed Workers” found that 0.02 percent of tax filers that received unemployment benefits in 2009 were millionaires. A total of $20.8 million in unemployment benefits went to this group.

“It sounds scandalous when you hear that millionaires are going to collect unemployment insurance,” Bill Frenzel, guest scholar at the Brookings Institute and former Republican member of Congress, told ABC News.  “On the other hand, millionaires get unemployed too and have made payments into the unemployment insurance.”

In 2010, 4.6 million people were kept out of poverty due to unemployment benefits, according to the Center on the Budget and Policy Priorities.

Frenzel says if they made a million dollars in income the year prior, “they could probably stand being barred from unemployment this year.”

And, apparently one member of Congress agrees.

“Sending millionaires unemployment checks is a case study in out-of-control spending.  Providing welfare to the wealthy undermines the program for those who need it most while burdening future generations with senseless debt,”  Republican Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. of Oklahoma said in a statement to ABC News.  Based on the report from the senator’s office, millionaires received $74 million in unemployment insurance from 2005 to 2009.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the average individual collects about $300 per week from unemployment compensation.

Early last year, Sen. Coburn introduced “Ending Unemployment to Jobless Millionaires Act of 2011,” which is currently languishing in the House of Representatives, a bill which sought to halt payment of federal funds for unemployment compensation to individuals whose “resources in the preceding year” was $1 million or more.

But millionaires aren’t the only individuals to benefit from unemployment benefits. A few other high-income brackets receive compensation from the government. More than 8,000 tax filers making $500,000 to $1,000,000 received unemployment benefit income in 2009 and more than 900,000 tax filers that made $100,000 to $500,000 received unemployment benefit income.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Another Weak Jobs Report Coming This Week?

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The economy this week is likely to be dominated by Friday’s September jobs report from the Labor Department.

The August survey was dismal, with just 96,000 jobs added by employers.

Some economists are looking for improvement in September, but the latest forecast from the Business Roundtable is gloomy.  CEOs of the group’s member firms were decidedly more pessimistic about hiring extra workers than they were in the last survey three months ago.

Despite the findings, many big businesses are still making record profits and most expect sales to grow in the next six months.

The two biggest sources of concern are the slowdown overseas and the fiscal cliff due to hit in 2013 when taxes will rise unless Congress acts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Labor Day 2012: Unemployment Remains a Struggle, Especially for Long-Term Unemployed

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Labor Day honors workers after labor protestors were killed in a railroad strike over wages and work hours in 1894. The protests began in Pullman, Ill. and spread across the country. This Labor Day, unemployment remains a concern not just for the labor movement but the entire country.

The median duration of unemployed persons is 16.7 weeks, according to the most recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for July 2012. The figure has been improving but the long-term unemployment remains a widespread challenge to the recovering economy.

Over 5.1 million people have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, according to July 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released in August.

There have been the most number of U.S. jobs lost in local government and education, according to the Labor Department: 77,000 jobs or 1 percent of those jobs. There have been 38,000, or 1.3 percent, lost jobs from the federal government.

Younger workers continually face labor challenges. The unemployment rate for those ages 20 to 24 is 61.7 percent according to BLS data for January released in August. Economists stress that "the discouraged worker effect" can skew unemployment rates to appear smaller than they actually are because those who have given up looking for work have been are considered not in the labor force.

The health care sector has seen some of the biggest increases in jobs: up 299,000 or an increase of 2.1 percent from July 2011 to July 2012.

Job losses from contracting and closing establishments are down relative to pre-recession levels. "Companies are already lean," said Stephen Bronars, chief economist with Welch Consulting. "The weak companies have already failed. Job gains are coming back for growing companies but they are still below pre-recession levels."

All eyes will be on the Labor Department's monthly unemployment report on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, including both political parties, for fodder in examining the state of the U.S. economy before November's presidential election. If and how the unemployment rate of 8.2 percent changes before November could determine the election, some political analysts say.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Labor Day 2012: 8 Biggest Layoff Announcements

PRNewsFoto/Verizon Wireless(NEW YORK) --  It seems it's going to be another tough Labor Day for labor. The U.S. unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, with most jobs lost this year from local and federal government.

In the private sector, many companies are shedding headcount not so much due to a flailing economy, as in previous years, but because of the state of its business or industry, said John Challenger, CEO of executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

While many companies quietly and slowly reduce headcount, here are some of the biggest layoff announcements this year that crossed news headlines, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

1. Hewlett-Packard Co.
Technology company Hewlett-Packard announced in May that it expects "approximately 27,000 employees to exit the company, or 8.0 percent of its workforce, as of Oct. 31, 2011, by the end of fiscal year 2014."

The multi-year restructuring plan that included the reduction came after HP reported lower-than-expected third-quarter financial results. The company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., had 350,000 employees as of Oct. 31, 2011.

With competitive pressure from other computer makers, HP is facing a big legacy in a slow growth business, Challenger said.

2. American Airlines
American Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy in November, had initially announced in February that it would eliminate 13,000 positions in a restructuring process, but it has since narrowed those cuts to 10,000.

"American Airlines is restructuring its business and must significantly reduce its labor costs, which will be done by implementing new, consensual labor contracts and changes via a court-supervised process," the company said in a statement to ABC News. "Over time, the company will eliminate 10,000 positions, which is substantially fewer than originally contemplated earlier this year. Fortunately, through voluntary separation programs, we expect far fewer people to be affected than the number of positions."

The company has been negotiating with its pilots' unions over contracts. American and American Eagle have almost 88,500 full-time and part-time employees worldwide, according to its website, while 77 percent of them are represented by one of three labor unions: Allied Pilots Association, Association of Professional Flight Attendants and Transport Workers Union.

3. PepsiCo
PepsiCo hasn't had an easy summer in its Purchase, N.Y., headquarters.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in June he wanted to ban large soft drink sales from the city. And this week, the state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, announced he's opened an investigation into the energy drink industry. Last month, Schneiderman issued a subpoena to PepsiCo, maker of AMP Energy.

Food and beverage company PepsiCo announced a number of strategic changes in February, such as increasing advertising by $500 to $600 million this year and reducing headcount by 8,700 across 30 countries. The reduction represents about three percent of its global workforce and less than two percent domestically.

4. Food Lion
In January, grocer Food Lion, owned by Delhaize America based in Salisbury, N.C., announced 4,900 employees were exiting the company, some related to the closure of 113 Food Lion stores. The company has about 74,000 total employees.

A spokeswoman for the company said they were able to find retail jobs for a number of the individuals affected by the announcement.

5. Procter & Gamble
Last year, consumer products company Procter & Gamble announced plans to reduce its global non-manufacturing enrollment by 10 percent, or about 5,700 roles, over two years ending June 30, 2013.

In February, the company said it planned to cut 1,600 jobs of the 5,700 by June. The company has reduced 3,000 roles to date, a company spokeswoman told ABC News.

6. Old Country Buffet Inc. (Buffets Inc.)
In January, Buffets Inc., the owners of Old Country Buffett and HomeTown Buffet, said it was filing for bankruptcy and it planned to close 81 restaurants nationwide, which Challenger, Gray and Christmas estimates is leading to a cut of 3,000 positions.

Buffets Inc. did not return a request for comment.

Buffets Inc. filed for bankrupty previously in January 2008, closing 51 restaurants and laying off 2,300 employees.

7. Albertsons (Nevada & California)
In June, grocer Albertsons announced it was laying off up to 2,500 workers in California and Nevada beginning that month.

Albertsons and Food Lion face similar struggles, as they are reflective of very thin margins in the food business, Challenger said.

The supermarket chain has more than 450 locations in about nine states and is a subsidiary of SuperValu, based in Boise, Idaho.

Albertsons did not return a request for comment.

8. Best Buy Co. Inc.
In July, electronics retailer Best Buy announced it was laying off 2,400 workers, including 600 Geek Squad (aka tech support) representatives.

The company has struggled with sales, reporting earlier this month a near 90 percent drop in profit in its second quarter.

Challenger said tight sales margins are in part due to competition from companies like Amazon and the ability of consumers to quickly compare prices between stores.

Best Buy did not return a request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Many Still Looking for Work, Taking Pay Cuts

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics examines how people who lost their jobs between January 2009 and December 2011 are doing.

The report shows that 56 percent of those who became unemployed found jobs by the beginning of 2012, indicating that a large percentage of the people who lost jobs are still struggling to find employment. Over half of those who found work accepted lower pay, and one-third accepted decreased pay of at least 20 percent. Almost one in five of those who lost work had manufacturing jobs.

By January 2012, 61 percent of men had found jobs, as opposed to 50 percent of women. Asians had the highest re-employment rates in January 2012 at 60 percent, followed by whites at 57 percent, Hispanics at 55 percent and blacks at 46 percent.

The data is based on 6.1 million people who had worked at their jobs for three or more years before being displaced. According to the report, an additional 6.7 million people who held jobs for less than three years were also displaced.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


State Unemployment Worst in Nevada, Lowest in North Dakota

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Nevada continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12 percent, according to state data for July released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rounding out the top three are Rhode Island and California, with rates of 10.8 and 10.7 percent, respectively.

North Dakota has the lowest jobless rate at 3 percent while the national unemployment rate stands at 8.3 percent.

Twenty-three states have unemployment rates significantly lower than the U.S. average while eight states have much higher rates.  Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have rates that are about the same as the national average.

Here are the latest unemployment figures in states key to this year’s presidential election:

  • Nevada --  12%
  • North Carolina -- 9.6%
  • Florida --  8.8%
  • Colorado  --  8.3%
  • Wisconsin  --  7.3%
  • Ohio --  7.2%
  • Virginia --  5.9%
  • New Hampshire --  5.4%
  • Iowa --   5.3%

See the full list of state unemployment rates here.

It is worth nothing that while this report indicates unemployment, underemployment – that is, unemployment including people who want a job but have given up looking, or who want full-time work but have settled for part time – is significantly higher. Those figures are released on a quarterly basis for the states, and the last report was released late last month. See those figures here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Unemployed in Mississippi? Blame Your Saggy Pants

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The local government of Hinds County, Miss., may force residents to pull their pants up in the hope of pulling the region up by its bootstraps.

In a hearing Monday, county officials brought new legislation regarding sagging pants to the table in an effort to weed out what the ban’s supporters say is an “indecent” wardrobe choice that’s keeping the Jackson area youth out of work.

While the question of whether banning saggy pants will solve the Jackson area’s unemployment issues is still up for debate, the severity of the area’s economic state is not.  As of June, unemployment at Hinds County stands at 9.1 percent, with approximately 22.5 percent of residents living below the poverty line as of 2010.

The Hinds County saggy pants ban would make sagging one’s pants more than three inches below the hip or exposing underwear or skin in that area a misdemeanor.  First-time offenders would only receive a warning; following the second offense, the offender must pay a $10 fine and complete two hours of community service.  If the offender is a minor, the minor’s parents would also be fined.

Supporters of the ban, such as Supervisor Kenneth Stokes, say that outlawing sagging pants will help to adjust the culture of Hinds County.

“Here in Mississippi, the majority of the elderly or the older people have a bad feeling about the sagging pants,” Stokes said.  “When you have a person with sagging pants coming to a job interview, they have a worse chance than someone who comes to the interview with their pants not sagging.”

Representatives from the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have decried the proposed ordinance as particularly discriminatory against black males and an infringement on personal freedom of expression, according to ACLU representative Bear Atwood.

“The saggy pants ban would be unconstitutional,” she said.  “Hinds County is a predominantly black county, Jackson is predominantly black, and our real concern is that this is, intentional or not, going to end up targeting black neighborhoods and, for kids who have done nothing other than wear their pants too low, brings them into contact with the police unnecessarily.”

Other dissenters have focused their discontent on whether the legislation as it stands is effective.  Hinds County Supervisor Phil Fisher stated that he is opposed to the saggy pants ordinance “because it doesn’t offer an enforcement mechanism with any bite.”

Fisher referred to the legislation as a “feel-good measure” for the board and “a waste of time for law enforcement,” saying that “parents should raise their own children and not rely on law enforcement to raise them.”

County deputies would be in charge of enforcing the ordinance, though Fisher says the lack of accountability in the current legislation makes it likely that the ban will go unnoticed.  He advocates requiring monthly reports from law enforcement on the number of tickets issued, as well as higher penalties, with a $100 fine for a first offense.

Stokes said that banning sagging pants will help to discourage students from dropping out of high school, and also prepare them for employment later on.  He also emphasized that the ban may not be universally applicable, but that it’s the right decision for Hinds County.

“What we’re saying here in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County, may not fit in Atlanta,” he said.  “We don’t have a whole lot of jobs here, and we have to be sure that our children qualify for the jobs that we do have.”

The Hinds County board of supervisors will vote on the measure during its Aug. 20 meeting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Youth Joblessness: No End in Sight, Says Report

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan group YoungInvincibles asks what kind of employment prospects young Americans can look forward to over the next decade.  Its conclusion: Prospects are bleak.

The report, “No End in Sight? The Long-Term Youth Jobs Gap and What It Means for America,” says that though the present looks bad for young job-seekers, the future could be worse.  Further, it questions whether employment for the young will ever return to what it was before the recession.

Study co-author Rory O’Sullivan says that today’s unemployment numbers understate the problem.

The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds now stands at 16.5 percent, more than double the rate for the population at large (8.2 percent).  For Latino youth, the rate is 20.5 percent, and for African-American youth, 30.2 percent.  Fewer than half of all young Americans hold any kind of job at all, says the report.

These numbers, while daunting, fail to include young people who have given up looking for work and dropped out of the labor force altogether.

The report identifies what it calls a ‘jobs gap’ of some 2.7 million, meaning that there are that many fewer jobs for youth today than would have existed without the recession.

YoungInvincibles arrives at this number, O’Sullivan explains, by using Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for the youth labor force from 2008-2018.  These were based on data from 2007, the last year the economy was fully healthy.  A normal unemployment rate was then applied, he says, to get the number of jobs that would have existed during this period, had the economy remained healthy.  That figure was then subtracted from the number of jobs that actually exist, highlighting a gap of some 2.7 million “missing” jobs.

It’s a number the report calls “staggering” -- “roughly the size of the entire population of Chicago.”

The situation, while grim, isn’t hopeless, says O’Sullivan.  If America’s leaders were aggressively to pursue youth job-creation policies -- for example, boosting investment in AmeriCorps from the current $1 billion a year to $6.5 billion -- he says the gap could be closed by 2016.  Some 500,000 new youth jobs a year would be created, he says, for less money than the monthly cost of maintaining troops in Afghanistan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio