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September 1, 2008

Unemployed: Many Jobless and Without Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment continues to engulf the state of Michigan. To add insult to injury, many of the people who are unemployed are not eligible for any type of benefits. About 37 percent of those unemployed in Michigan got benefits in 2007. That number was down from 41 percent in 2006. Those are some of the lowest rates recorded in the country.

These numbers mean that 227,600 of the unemployed people in Michigan did not get any benefits. Unemployment benefits are in place to help those that are out of work due to no cause of their own. The number of jobless that are receiving no benefits is growing in 2008.

All of the businesses that have folded in the last few years have left scores of people jobless. As the financial tides in Michigan continue to be very questionable, more people may face lay offs. Some people who have tried to make it on unpredictable temporary agency work are not eligible for benefits.

Some unemployed workers wait too long to apply for benefits. This leaves them ineligible for compensation and without many options. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 63 percent of Michigan’s unemployed are not getting any benefits.

The global economy and the labor market have outpaced the system. Unemployment insurance was part of the New Deal created by President Theodore Roosevelt. The system that was designed to include part time employment, people who have to switch jobs and the lower paid needs to be revamped.

At the time that the New Deal was put together the workforce was made up of traditional male breadwinners who were employed in manufacturing positions. That of course is the workforce of the past. Almost no workers will be employed by just one employer for their entire working career. Most workers will not only have several different employers, they will also have more than one career path. Unemployment insurance systems do not address the diverse workforce that now exist.

Part time work generally means no benefits. Some people find side jobs and entrepreneurial endeavors to make up for the lack of income. Others turn to illegal activities to support themselves. Desperate times often push people to desperate measures. Taking up trades or returning to school is an option. However, concentrating on learning a new skill can be extremely difficult when you are unemployed.

Michigan has an 8.5 percent jobless rate and a very weak economy. Even though 11,000 more jobs were added in the past year, there are still many with no benefits or jobs. The No Worker Left Behind program geared towards displaced automakers is designed to help workers obtain new skills.

Michigan is not alone in the unemployment crisis. However, it has consistently been one of the states that has the highest unemployment rate. The inability of the state to develop an industry to take the place of the automotive companies is the key to the state’s failure. The troubled state of Michigan continues to face woes they are not sure how to fix.

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