Unemployment Benefits: Economic Help or Hindrance?

Unemployment Benefits: Economic Help or Hindrance?

There are many indicators that the economy is improving, both nationally and in Wyoming. That is, it is improving--except in the area where it probably matters most. Sheridan Media's Betsy Love has the story:

The term “jobless recovery” has been thrown around for a while, and there is wide agreement among analysts that most economic indicators are currently pointing upwards. Of course, thats not to say there isn't disagreement about what those indicators will be doing 6 months or 3 years from now. But, for the moment, the numbers show various factors like “spending” and “industrial production” to be increasing.
However, despite these other gains, the labor market continues to be sluggish, at best. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39,000 new private sector jobs were created in November—down from October, which had private job growth over four times that amount. Now, those who are still unemployed may face another challenge, as more and more workers will be cycling off federal emergency unemployment benefits, which expired November 30th.
Ron Linford, who is the Unemployment Claims Manager for Wyoming, says unless Congress extends the unemployment benefits, many people around Wyoming will be affected:

And Mr. Linford predicts that this could have other adverse affects on Wyoming's economy:

Critics of these benefits argue it discourages people from seeking work. And though there may be plenty of empirical data to back up that idea in certain cases, Ron says that generally has not been his experience:

Of course, to what extent prolonging unemployment benefits may discourage job seeking certainly depends on a variety of variables. However, under these current conditions, the Federal Reserve “attributes less than one percentage point of the (current) unemployment rate to this effect,” according to the December 3rd edition of The Economist Magazine.
Wyoming's latest unemployment figures put the state average at 6.7%.

For sheridanmedia.com news, this is Betsy Love reporting.

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