The high unemployment rate is no big news. In 2007 the American economy took quite a hit. While the unemployment rate is still down from its highest national rate in 2009, many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet and relying on unemployment benefits.
In 2009, the national unemployment rate was at 10%, the highest it had been since 1982; Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in response to this high unemployment rate. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a stimulus package that infused $787 billion into America’s economy. Since then, the unemployment rate has very gradually gone down. The current national unemployment rate is 8.2%. In California, the current unemployment rate is 10.8%. In 2010 alone unemployment benefits helped keep 3.2 million Americans out of poverty, according to the Census Bureau.
Employers have been adding new jobs since February of this year, but job gains still average only 73,000 jobs a month from April through June, which is certainly not enough to keep up with a rising population. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits is up by 2000 in the last week. These benefits are providing many Americans with the help they need to survive in this economy.
However, many taxpayers may be disappointed to learn that according the latest U.S. Labor Department report, both the state and federal governments overpaid approximately $14 billion, roughly 11% of all the jobless benefits paid out, in unemployment benefits last year. According to a CNN report the majority of the overpaid money went to “those who aren’t actively searching for a job, those who were fired or quit voluntarily, and those who continue to file claims even though they’ve returned to work. Any of those circumstances would make a person ineligible for benefits.”
While administrative errors are likely to blame for this oversight, the Labor Department has decided to make it more difficult to receive unemployment benefits. The Labor Department has also said that the majority of these funds are recoverable, though statistically speaking only a quarter of “recoverable” funds are ever reimbursed.
For the foreseeable future, it appears that unemployment is an issue we will have to deal with as a nation. Government efforts have made some positive changes as well as some negative changes. Time will tell how the unemployment issue gets resolved, but in the mean time, individuals need to continue to work hard to support themselves. If you’re searching for an executive level job, Menlo Partners can help. Contact us today.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/4423185450/