In December, Congress put an end to long-term unemployment insurance, but a state workforce agency in Illinois is standing up for them and their rights.
The agency in question is the Illinois Department of Employment Security that gave out statistics about long-term unemployed individuals and that by December, they were still out of work.
They conducted a study that found a shocking 86 percent of them had still not found a job by early 2014, even though they were no longer getting their long-term unemployment benefits. According to Jay Rowell, who is director of the Illinois employment agency, “This seriously undermines the perception that unemployment insurance discourages workers from finding employment” as reported on the Huffington Post.
One of the defenses for canceling the unemployment insurance was that having these benefits kept people from looking for a job. But this new study proves them wrong, with the majority of unemployed still not able to find work. Rowell goes on to request the Congress look at a better analysis of emergency unemployment benefits and finding a low-cost way for the families to keep their homes in between jobs. He believes these statistics provide that they can no longer use the long-term unemployment insurance benefits as an excuse for not working, as if they simply are not interested in finding a job.
Congress agrees to ending the emergency unemployment benefits at the end of 2013, taking away benefits from approximately 1.3 million people in the United States. When state benefits expire, this usually means Federal benefits step up to take their place. However, over 2 million people have lost all of their benefits and 70,000 people are losing state insurance benefits every week. In the state of Illinois, there were 74,000 people no longer receiving their unemployment benefits and 64,000 of them had still not found work by the end of January in 2014.
The Republican party was most opposed to renewing the unemployed benefits, believing they were keeping Americans from taking jobs that were offered to them. However, Rowell now thinks after this study’s findings, that it is simply lack of available jobs for everyone. Greg Rivara, a spokesman for the department, agrees with him. He said if this was the reason they didn’t have work, then once their money ran out, there would not still be 86 percent of unemployed people still without work.
The long-term unemployed statistics in the United States haven’t changed months in the last few months, even after these benefits were cut. There were 3.8 million people unemployed for six months or longer in December, and by March, the number only dropped to 3.7 million people. This isn’t much of a change, considering the lack of benefits should have caused them to look more efficiently for work.
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