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What Happened Since Extended Unemployment Benefits Ended?

April 09, 2014

While it operated, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program provided record amounts of financial assistance to over 24 million long-term unemployed individuals.  The EUC program provided record weeks of unemployment benefits per person (a total of up to 99 weeks of all unemployment benefits in many states, far eclipsing the norm of up to 52 weeks), a record duration of such a program (a total of 66 months, which is over 2 years longer than the next-longest such “temporary” program in U.S. history), and record federal spending of over $260 billion — most of which added to the federal debt.
Despite Democrat claims that spending on unemployment benefits “creates jobs faster than almost any initiative you can name,” all this record-setting benefit spending has bought in recent years is the slowest jobs recovery on record.  But consider the following facts from last week’s jobs report.  Since EUC ended in December after being in place for five and a half years:

  • Employment has risen by 1.156 million (in the three months of January, February and March).
  • The labor force has increased by 1.290 million (contrary to those who expected lots of people to drop out of the labor force when EUC ended).
  • The unemployment rate for high school grads has dropped by 0.8 percentage point (from 7.1% to 6.3%).
  • There are 139,000 fewer long-term unemployed (down from 3.878 million in December to 3.739 million in March).
  • Average weeks unemployed is down by 1.5 weeks, and median weeks unemployed is down by 0.8 weeks.