Policy Points

23.11.2009 Policy Points Comments Off on Around the Dial – Nov. 23

Around the Dial – Nov. 23

Economic policy reports, blog postings, and media stories of interest:

23.11.2009 Policy Points Comments Off on Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits

A new report from the Congressional Research Service summarizes the issues related to the various extensions of unemployment insurance benefits authorized by Congress. With the most recent extension, workers receiving insurance benefits can qualify potentially for four tiers of Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC).

A key problem is that while Congress has extended benefits, it has not yet reauthorized the larger EUC program, which is set to expire at the end of the year. Explains the report:

There has been some confusion on what the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance
Act of 2009, P.L. 111-92, accomplished. P.L. 111-92 expanded benefits available in the EUC08
program. That is, it substantially increased the number of weeks of EUC08 benefits available to
individuals; it did not extend the authorization of the program, which currently expires on
December 26, 2009. Tier I benefits continue to be up to 20 weeks in duration and tier II benefits
are now 14 weeks in duration (compared with 13 previously) and no longer are dependent on a
state’s unemployment rate. The new tier III benefit provides up to 13 weeks of EUC08 benefits to
those workers in states with an average unemployment rate of 6% or higher. The new tier IV
benefit may provide up to an additional 6 weeks of benefits if the state unemployment rate is at
least 8.5%; however, at this time tier IV benefits are largely symbolic as few workers will qualify
for tier IV before the EUC08 program authorization expires.

There has been some confusion on what the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, P.L. 111 92, accomplished. P.L. 111-92 expanded benefits available in the EUC08 program. That is, it substantially increased the number of weeks of EUC08 benefits available to individuals; it did not extend the authorization of the program, which currently expires on December 26, 2009. Tier I benefits continue to be up to 20 weeks in duration and tier II benefits are now 14 weeks in duration (compared with 13 previously) and no longer are dependent on a state’s unemployment rate. The new tier III benefit provides up to 13 weeks of EUC08 benefits to those workers in states with an average unemployment rate of 6% or higher. The new tier IV benefit may provide up to an additional 6 weeks of benefits if the state unemployment rate is at least 8.5%; however, at this time tier IV benefits are largely symbolic as few workers will qualify for tier IV before the EUC08 program authorization expires.

23.11.2009 Policy Points Comments Off on Measuring Poverty

Measuring Poverty

In recent months, analysts and policy leaders in Washington have been looking at ways of updating the outmoded federal poverty measurement. In a commentary in the publication Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, analyst Annette Case explains why the debate matters and why policymakers must take a broad view of economic hardship. Writes Case:

The purpose for measuring economic deprivation and developing and enacting policies that reduce economic deprivation is to assure opportunities to sustain and grow the middle class and to reduce poverty. The current outdated official measure of poverty, as well as one proposed replacement, provides only half of the information we are looking fo – how poorly people are faring, No official and reliably reported measure exists that tells us how many people are making ends meet or the extent to which they have become economically secure. This part of the story falls off the radad when we engage om debate about the measure of poverty. A strong middle class is essential to a vibrant economy and well-functioning democracy. Adopting a measure of economic security will better support policies that encourage economic mobility and a fair shot at the middle class.

Case’s commentary is part of an ongoing series exploring the question of poverty measurement.

20.11.2009 Policy Points Comments Off on Weekend Wonk Out

Weekend Wonk Out

A round-up of policy reports from the week ending on 11/20:

20.11.2009 Policy Points Comments Off on October Employment Report: NC

October Employment Report: NC

October’s employment report from the Employment Security Commission offers more evidence that a jobless recovery is taking shape in North Carolina.

Last month, North Carolina employers added 12,100 more positions than they eliminated. This was the second time in three months in which the state netted some jobs. Nevertheless, the job market is not generating enough positions to absorb new workers or those displaced over the past year.

In October, North Carolina employers added 12,100 more positions than they shed. The public sector added 5,800 positions while the private sector netted 6,300 positions. Among private-sector industries, education and health services posted the largest gain (+5,800) while construction shed the most positions (-6,600). Additionally, a downward revision to the September employment report resulted in the net loss of another 2,500 positions.

Click here to read South by North Strategies’ analysis of the October employment report.