On Wednesday evening, July 21, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote to authorize federal funds to extend unemployment insurance for more than 2 million Americans. The Senate approved a similar measure 98-0 just eight months ago.
On Tuesday the Senate had voted 60-40 to end a Republican-led filibuster of the legislation. Republicans, following Senate rules, pledged to use their full allotment of 30 hours of comment to delay a final vote until about 9 pm EDT Wednesday. Two Republicans had voted to end the filibuster; one Democrat voted against ending debate.
- Total workforce: 153 million
Total persons unemployed: 14.6 million
U.S. unemployment rate: 9.5 percentage (Each percentage point represents approximately 1.54 million people.)
Adult women: 7.8 percent
Adult men: 9.9 percent
Whites: 8.6 percent
Blacks: 15.4 percent
Hispanics: 12.4 percent
Asians: 7.7 percent
Of these, 6.8 milllion people have been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer, 45.5 percent of the total unemployed.
But that is only part of the picture.
The unemployment numbers do not include 3.8 million people who have dropped out of the labor force. Nearly one-third of these say they are no longer looking for work because they are “discouraged,” a number that has increased by 50 percent in the last year.
The unemployment numbers also do not include 8.7 million people who are working part-time strictly because they sought but could not find full-time work.
So the more accurate total number of people who are unemployed or under-employed — the number of people who want full-time jobs but can’t find them — is nearly 28 million.
Unemployment insurance is paid to 4.5 million of these people.
The Senate action Wednesday, as important as it is for millions of families, will affect less than 10 percent of the total of unemployed or under-employed.