Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel released the following statement this morning:
“I’m pleased that the Senate is voting on extending unemployment benefits today and that President Obama has made this a top priority. Now is no time to cut back on support for long-term unemployed workers who lost their job through no fault of their own. The ratio of unemployed workers to job openings is 2.9-to-1, as high as it was at the height of the previous downturn in the early 2000s. This means that for nearly two out of every three job seekers, there simply are no jobs. In addition, there is a uniquely high share of the workforce experiencing long-term unemployment—much higher than any time in previous economic downturns we have ever let an extended benefits program expire. Letting this crucial lifeline expire has caused undue hardship for the 1.3 million Americans and their families who have lost benefits, and will affect nearly five million workers this year if it is not reinstated. Moreover, these benefits play an important role in boosting a still-ailing economy. EPI research has shown that the labor market will lose 310,000 jobs in 2014 if they are not extended.”
More information on the impact of emergency unemployment compensation can be found in Labor Market Will Lose 310,000 Jobs in 2014 if Unemployment Insurance Extensions Expire by EPI economist Heidi Shierholz. Mishel and Shierholz are available for interviews throughout the week.