Should Congress extend jobless benefits for more than 2.5 million Americans?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Congress has voted to extend benefits six times since June 2008. But Republican resistance has grown along with concerns about the deficit. As an HR pro, do you think unemployment benefits should be extended again?


  • 15 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I've seen several studies cited which indicate this type of funding - unemployment, food stamps, etc. - are the most effective form of economic stimulus, in terms of "bang for the buck". So, in purely objective economic terms, it seems like it's a no-brainer. The budgetary effect of unemployment compensation is miniscule compared to what we're spending in other "untouchable" areas - the war in Afghanistan, for instance.

    The problem is the perception that as long as people can get unemployment, they won't worry about finding a new job. While 90% of the people currently on unemployment might think that is ridiculous, all it takes is one example in our life - a relative, neighbor, whatever - to make if feel real.

    Then there is the emotional response we tend to feel as HR professionals. Those of us lucky enough to be with employers who don't have layoffs can experience a knee-jerk reaction that equates drawing unemployment with being unwilling to work or prone to being fired. It's easy to be supportive of the employees of a small-town manufacturer that goes out of business... we just want to screen out the bum that we fired for showing up hung over too many times.
  • I absolutely hate to see us go into more debt, but it can't help us to have people homeless and starving either. Most of the people who get unemployment will spend it feeding their families. Besides, if we don't pay it through unemployment, we will end up paying it through food stamps and welfare. That is in the best case scenario. In a worst case, we will find starving citizens resorting to crime to feed their families. Just think about all the costs that would incur. Between the costs and the mental anguish involved, more unemployment payments is definitely the least objective choice.

    Best choice: find a way out of this economic mess.
  • [URL][/URL]

    By a 60-40 vote -- the bare minimum required to overcome the threat of a filibuster -- the Senate has voted to cut off debate on a bill extending jobless benefits through November for those who have already used up their standard 26 weeks of aid. If the Senate (as expected) officially passes the measure by the same vote later today (as expected), it means Congress will have followed the first option (above) in Wendi's quickie poll. tk
  • Personally, I would be more OK with it if the funding came from somewhere other than adding to our Federal's big enough as it is, and growing every day. Now, I don't have a good alternative solution, but that's my opinion nonetheless.
  • Can anyone cite one single example of a job that was created by extension of unemployment benefits? The only way to reduce unemployment is to stimulate job creation. Therefore, any funds being budgeted for UI extensions should instead be allocated to businesses to provide wage supplements to employers who can hire the unemployed. Extensions seems like the "moral and just" way of helping the unemployed, but it only further entrenches them in jobless hell and government dependency. If we are going to fund any effort to help the unemployed, fund those who can create jobs, provide benefits, sustain skill levels and provide hope for their future - namely the businesses of America. We've extended benefits six seperate times, and the unemployment picture has only worsened. Remember the old addage about the definition of insanity...
  • The business community - as a whole - has the funds to create jobs. It just isn't. From the Wall Street Journal to ABC, news organizations across the board report that businesses are hoarding cash instead of hiring. Unemployment is a bandaid, sure... but even bandaids have a purpose. In this case, it could help hold off a significant number of foreclosures and repossessions, for example.
  • By now, everyone probably knows that President Obama has signed another unemployment benefits extension into law. If you are interested in more information on the new law, The Washington Post reported on the new legislation at [URL=""][/URL].
  • Hoarding cash? Are you kidding? I don't know what businesses they are speaking of, but I know it's NOT the small businesses across the country, and those are the ones that employ 90% of the workforce. Those companies don't have any cash to "hoard" and cannot get access to the capital markets because the banks are the ones that are sitting on the money. I'm sure it is the large, Fortune 100 companies that are the focus of the reports that say businesses are hoarding cash, and if this is true, its most likely due to the uncertainty of the economy, the extensive regulations pending in Congress that will place further burdens on employers, and the unknown impact health care reform will have on the bottom line. The point is, employers aren't hiring because the government keeps confiscating their profits through high taxes, sadles them with onerous regs, and removes the incentives to hire new employees. That scenario will NEVER allow for job stimulation, and UI extensions are just diverting money away from job creation and transfering it to treating the symptom, not the cause. IT'S NOT WORKING!
  • We also have money to lend. About $3 mil available to small business now, and another $20-$25 mil if the Udall Amendment passes (hopefully next month).
  • It's definitely a tough time for most companies - we are doing some hiring because we need to grow in order to become more successful, but having the funds to do that growth is difficult without borrowing money, and we're lucky enough to be a debt-free company.

    I've noticed that while we are hiring, we're definitely keeping those purse strings pretty tight when it comes to salary ranges. We've had to say no to a few awesome candidates because they were asking too much.

    Anyone else experiencing salary/hiring woes?
  • We are a very small company and have hired one new part-time and two new full time employees within the last couple of months. We see this as helping our business grow over the long run.
  • I've said it before and I'll probably say it a thousand more times...

    Most of the top companies got to the top in difficult times, not in good times. They put distance between themselves and their competitors because their competitors were too busy complaining about what couldn't be done. HR can be a huge help in that regard - be self-aware, accentuate your positives, treat people fairly, set higher expectations of your current employees, and find the best new hires you can.
  • According to today's [I]NY Times, [/I]some 1.4 million Americans have been out of work for at least 99 weeks, after which no unemployment benefits are available. Today's issue takes a closeup look at the job search of one of the people in that group seeking work -- a 49-year-old woman who has moved from TN back to more familiar territory in VT. tk

  • That story is heartbreaking. So many people fall through the cracks. I remember some people never recovered from the last big recession. They were so defeated by not being able to get a job that they just gave up and lived on the streets, even after the economy came back.
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