President Obama signed into law the restoration of unemployment benefits last week. For workers whose benefits had expired seven weeks ago, that was good news. They are now entitled to a maximum of 99 weeks of benefits. To employers, the news most likely means another future hike in the unemployment tax applied to the payroll. Still, with unemployment near 10% in many places, and unemployment rates up in three-quarters of the metropolitan areas of the country, it is illogical to blame the unemployed.
In the census study, a question went unanswered about the effect of unemployment benefits on the incentive to find work. Keeping in mind that the benefits are relatively low, one would think that most people would continue to look for work at their former pay rate, since lifestyle tends to follow income level. A short article entitled “Five Myths About Unemployment”appeared in Sunday’s Washington Post, and addresses some of the concerns about the extension, and reasons that overall it is good for the country as well as the individual workers who need it.