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99ers Crisis About to Get Much Worse

December 14, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

I’ve been trying to make the point that the 99er problem — people exhausting all unemployment benefits without finding a job — is about to get much worse because we’re approaching 99 weeks from the brunt of the recession unemployment spike. Congress is not planning to add more weeks of unemployment benefits and the Federal Reserve is projecting the unemployment rate to stay pretty much where it is for the next year. Putting it all together, this means that for the foreseeable future, there will no jobs and no government support for the millions of 99ers.

This graph from Calculated Risk showing three years of job losses makes it very clear — millions of people who lost their jobs in the deepest part of the recession are about to be dropped off a cliff:

Adding insult to injury, 99ers are not even tracked by the government. The way the employment statistics system works, when people go off of unemployment, they are not considered part of the work force and not factored into the numbers for employed or unemployed. This is why we have no firm number of 99ers, and why it’s so easy for policymakers to ignore this crisis.

Expect homelessness, the suicide rate, and despeartion-related crimes to spike. And remember to look at this when the consumer recovery doesn’t turn out as rosy as expected over the next couple years.

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