Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
March 25, 2004
MORE THAN ONE MILLION OF THE UNEMPLOYED
HAVE NOW BEEN
DENIED AID DUE TO END OF FEDERAL PROGRAM [in first quarter of 2004]
Exhaustions Continue at Unprecedented Pace
By Isaac Shapiro
To read the complete report, click here-- http://www.cbpp.org/3-25-04ui.htm#_ftnref1
From late December, when the federal program designed to help the long-term unemployed began phasing out,
through the end of March, an estimated 1.1 million jobless workers will have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits
without receiving additional aid. In no other comparable period on record have so many individuals exhausted their regular
benefits and gone without additional aid.
This estimate is based on previously released data from the Department of Labor for December and January,
just-released department data for February, and a new estimate by the author for March.
This analysis begins with an assessment of current exhaustion trends, including on a state-by-state basis.
It then discusses three of the arguments that have been put forward recently in opposition to resuming the temporary federal
benefits program, before concluding by describing the political forces that will influence whether the program is reestablished.
Exhaustions Top One Million
The Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program was created in March 2002 to provide additional
weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to jobless workers who have run out of regular, state-funded unemployment
benefits but have not found a job. TEUC provided up to 13 weeks of benefits to most workers who participated in it.
After being extended twice, it began phasing out in late December. Individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment
benefits since December 20 have not been eligible for TEUC aid.
A month ago, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report estimating that 760,000 unemployed
workers would exhaust their regular benefits and go without federal aid from December 20 through the end of February. The Labor Department just released actual exhaustion data for February that permit a precise calculation
of total exhaustions in late December through February. The actual figure was 781,000 — or three percent higher
than the Center’s estimate.
Based in substantial part on the February data, this analysis estimates the number of unemployed who will
exhaust their regular benefits in March, thereby creating a current estimate of how many unemployed have exhausted their regular
benefits and gone without federal aid since the TEUC program was not resumed.
- From late December through the end of March, an estimated 1,150,000 unemployed individuals will exhaust
their regular unemployment benefits. About 30,000 of them will qualify for additional unemployment aid through the permanent,
but quite limited, federal/state “extended benefits” unemployment program. The remaining 1,120,000 individuals will not qualify for additional aid.
- In no other comparable period on record, with data available back to 1971, have there been so many “exhaustees.”
- This figure will continue to mount as the weeks go by, with each new week bringing an average of nearly
80,000 more jobless workers exhausting their regular benefits but going without further aid.
Table 1 at the end of this analysis breaks out these figures on a state basis. It shows that throughout
the nation large numbers of individuals are exhausting their regular benefits and going without aid.
These findings are part of a pattern of ongoing labor market weakness. A variety of studies have
now concluded that job growth during this recovery period has been substantially weaker than in any other post-World War II
recovery period. The Administration’s own economists have come to this conclusion. The recent Economic
Report of the President stated “the performance of employment over the past couple of years has been appreciably
weaker than in past business cycles” (see page 48 of this February 2004 publication).
The general labor market report for February was also discouraging. Jobs grew by a paltry amount
of 21,000, with none of these jobs being created in the private sector. Further, the average duration of unemployment
spells rose to their highest level in 20 years. ...
Further sections in this report--
Findings of a new CBO study demonstrate importance of UI benefits
Current Arguments Against Resuming The TEUC Program
How Are The Political Forces
And don't miss the state-by-state chart showing "Estimated
exhaustions from late December 2003 through the end of March 2004" at the end.