by Kelly Wiedemer, Denver Unemployment Examiner
Yesterday the Denver Post reported that the duration of unemployment compensation will drop from 86 to 73 weeks on May 12 when the state loses eligibility for State Extended Benefits (SEB):
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is sending out letters to more than 6,000 people to notify them that effective May 12, they face the loss of unemployment benefits. The duration of benefits will fall to 73 weeks, down from a peak of 99 weeks.
“We will be sending notifications to all potentially impacted claimants,” said department spokeswoman Cher Haavind.
Those affected are covered under what is known as Tier 1 of the state extended-benefits program, which ended when Colorado’s unemployment rate in the first quarter fell below 110 percent of the rate seen in the same period three years earlier.
[...] At one point, the long-term unemployed in Colorado could collect up to 99 weeks of benefits under state and federal programs, earning them the nickname “the 99ers.”
But in November, Colorado lost eligibility for Tier 4 of the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which kicked in when a state had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent or higher.
The duration of benefits fell to 93 weeks, then in early April dropped to 86 weeks when Tier 2 of the state extended program ended, affecting 11,000 people who were eligible.
The maximum available after May 12 will be 73 weeks. And come September, changes in the federal program will cut another 10 weeks off, bringing the maximum down to 63 weeks.
The article concludes by indicating that if the state’s 3-month average unemployment rate falls below 7 percent, the number of weeks will drop to 54 weeks.
The number of ‘official’ unemployment ‘exhaustees’ reported by the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment [CDLE] continues to defy mathematics and common sense when one looks closely at the data found in monthly reports. Below is brief synposis of the information coming from the CDLE in various formats over the past 12-18 months which raises the question, “How is it possible that [only] 36,000 people have exhausted their unemployment claims given the data provided by the CDLE over the past several months?”
More than a year ago, the CDLE told the Denver Unemployment Examiner that 30,000 people in Colorado had exhausted all 99 weeks of U.I. benefits. The details also clearly indicated that another 50,000 people were heading into the final Tiers of benefits. At the time, there were approximately 149,000 receiving some ‘phase’ (regular, or extended/emergency benefits) of unemployment compensation in Colorado.
Then, a month ago, the CDLE reported that only 36k people have exhausted benefits.
Now, this report indicates 6,000 will lose benefits on May 12; it also indicates that another 11,000 people lost (exhausted) benefits in April of this year (and became ’86ers’.) when the total available dropped to 86 weeks. The Denver Post report doesn’t indicate how many people lost eligibility (exhausted benefits) in November when Colorado lost eligibility for Tier 4, the final 6 weeks of EUC benefits (and claimants or ‘exhaustees’ became ’93ers’).
According the data, Colorado has ‘created’ only 45,000 jobs over the past year. In addition to the 150,000 ‘officially’ unemployed, there has been tens of thousands of ‘new entrants’ (population growth) into the workforce, combined with (or including people moving into the state). Please see the Colorado Center on Law & Policy (CCLP) data found in their ‘Colorado Recovery Watch – March 2012′ report which indicates that 4,000 people entered the labor force during the month of March, 2012 alone. According to the data at CCLP, Colorado currently has a shortfall of 206,000 jobs:
When the recession began in December 2007, Colorado had 2,350,200 jobs. Since then, Colorado experienced a total of 29 months of job losses. Colorado’s employment trough occurred in January 2010, when the state had 141,000 fewer jobs than before the recession started. Now, in March 2012, Colorado has 59,700 fewer jobs. Colorado’s jobs shortfall, or the difference between the number of jobs the state has and the number it needs to regain its pre-recession employment rate, is 205,900. That number includes the 59,700 jobs that Colorado lost plus the 146,200 jobs it needs to keep up with the 6.2 percent growth in population that the state has experienced since the recession began. (Figures 5-6) As the jobs shortfall shows, Colorado has not recovered from the Great Recession. As state and federal elected officials make policy choices to deal with budget shortfalls, putting Americans back to work needs to be their primary goal.
We all know that the ‘long term unemployed’ are having a very hard time getting hired -regardless of whether they are ’99ers’, ’86ers’, or ’73ers’ – and that many of the ‘exhaustees’ remain unemployed while the ‘new’ jobs are being filled by migrants coming into the state and by those who’ve been unemployed for lesser periods of time.
More evidence of the same can be found in today’s very sobering report published KRDO in Springs titled, The 86 Million Invisible Unemployed – Labor force At Smallest Size Since ’80s Compared To Broader Working Age Population
Last year there were 86 million people who didn’t have a job and weren’t consistently looking for one, according to Labor Department data.
Older people, ages 65 and over, account for more than a third. Young people between 16 and 24 make up another fifth. More than half don’t have a college degree and more than two thirds are white.
Many of the teens and 20-somethings may be enrolled in either high school or college full-time. And many of the over 65 crowd are probably retired.
[...] About six million people claim they want a job, even though they haven’t looked for one in the last four weeks. If they were to all start applying for work again, the unemployment rate would suddenly shoot up above 11%.
“At this point, the labor market is worse than people realize because people are discouraged. Certainly, a large number of workers have given up on the job market,” Hall said.
That said, the decline in labor force participation is not a new problem. After peaking at 67.3 percent in early 2000, the rate has been falling ever since.
But what about the other 36 million folks who fall in between?
Good question. What about those 36 million who fall in between? Could it be that they are among those ’99ers’, ’86ers’ and ’73ers’ who somehow never appear in the number of officially reported unemployment exhaustees?
Please find additional information in my previous articles:
So…How many 99ers are really out there? And who is a 99er, anyway?
GAO report: an estimated 5.5 million have exhausted all UI benefits
CDLE reports unexplained drop in # of ‘very long-term’ unemployed: 99ers