Senate vote will finally extend unemployment aid, but only to 10 percent of all unemployed and under-employed

 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.

Here are some basic unemployment facts [U.S. Department of Labor, June 2010]: 
    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.

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About mountain barry

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., I grew up in a beautiful small town, where I could bicycle to the local golf course and to the Buffalo Bills training camp. My dad was from Kentucky and was a Naval officer in WW II. My mom was from a similar small town and could beat my dad at golf. I started my first publication, a weekly newspaper, in 9th grade, and have been at it ever since: college newspaper, graduate school, college press service, daily newspapers in New York, North Carolina and Kansas, business journals in Kansas and California; also corporate communications/p.r. in Kansas and the SF Bay Area. I have two beautiful children, one extraordinary grandson, three remarkable stepchildren and a patient, loving wife who also happens to be an eBay trading assistant. My dogs, cat, gardens and the basketball goal in the driveway round out the picture of my home in a small town in the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where mornings are foggy and afternoons are sunny.
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