As Unemployment Benefits Expire, How Will the Economy Fare?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Federal unemployment benefits are set to expire by the end of the year. The benefits were extended in the wake of the recession, but they have become a statistically significant driver of the nation's economy, as the more than 14 million jobless Americans use the benefits on items like clothes and groceries. Will the expiration of the benefits have an effect on an already anemic recovery?

Sharron Tetrault, a 20-year veteran of the non-profit sector, who has been unemployed since January of 2010 and whose unemployment benefits are set to expire in September, talks about her experience. Mike Munger, a political science and economics professor at Duke University, gives his take on the overall economic impact.

Comments [9]


Generally US economy is strong.Many MNC are located overseas.Thats the problem.To curb or cushion the unemployment US govt must make in compulsory for MNC overseas to employ US citizen in respectives countries.Example 10% of workfoce overseas must be American.This will generate employment.

Dec. 29 2011 11:24 PM

I'm curious (perhaps someone @ NPR can clarify this for me?) why it is always reported that "New jobless claims have fallen ..." as if this somehow translates into lower unemployment. All it tells me (and I doubt this as well) is that less people are losing their jobs now. This doesn't speak of the millions of Americans who are already unemployed or underemployed. Why are they being forgotten? And why does NPR consistently report on this "new jobless claims" statistic, which to anyone with a thinking brain, is meaningless?

Jul. 14 2011 10:15 AM
Mel Peterson from San Jose

Our economy, infrastructure, and govt have been mismanaged for at least the last 40 years. Both parties are guilty as well as all of us. We let things happen. Laws of over site & limitation established in the 1930's were eliminated. Unfunded Social Security liability became the norm. The money was used to pay for government expenses. That was like increasing taxes without telling us, and borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.
A tax increase will help reduce the deficit and debt, and fix infrastructure. That's the long term benefit. Tax cuts added to the deficits and debt.
The problem is revenue not spending. jobs increase revenue and decresa spending of unemployment checks. Debt reductions now will kill the economy.

I have ideas to help the economy & solve other problems. See my Blog:

Jul. 13 2011 01:19 AM
Mel Peterson from San Jose

Consumer spending creates jobs, stopping unemployment pymts will reduce consumer spending and hurt the economy. Even tho it increases nat'l debt & deficit we need to continue unemploy pymts until economy recovers.

I have ideas to help the economy & solve other problems. See my Blog:

Jul. 12 2011 11:20 PM
j from Manhattan

...and the conversation continues on its "veer right" argument & diverts the conversation once again to BS partisanship.

Please insert another quarter to continue playing.

Jul. 12 2011 05:46 PM

Mr. M from Duke -
Any tax increases have to be matched by guaranteed debt reductions. The administration is making a point of tax increases for political reasons to split the Republican Party. The Democrats controlled the Congress and in the last two years did not even submit a budget except for the Obama budget which was rejected 97-0 in the Senate. Isn't the administration playing political games with the economy?

Jul. 12 2011 02:55 PM

Prof. Munger, I think that you are being disingenuous when you talk about the Democrats' plans for any revenue side of the budgetary equation.

We've not seen any sort of a budget from the Democrats during this Congress.

We've not heard any sort of serious revenue-increasing proposal from the Democrats, apart from the silly and inconsequential class-warfare nonsense about millionaires' private jets. (I know how millionaire Nancy Pelosi avoided any problems with private jet travel payments; she didn't make any, and just got the U.S. Air Force to ferry her and her staff back and forth between San Francisco and Washington.)

If Obama, and the Democrats, want to be the tax-increase party, just please let them be clear about that. Tell us which taxes they want to raise, by how much, and what they expect those tax increases to produce in the way of real long term benefits for the economy.

Otherwise, I am quite content to be part of the "America has a government spending problem" Party.

Jul. 12 2011 11:16 AM
Mike Munger from Duke University

Listener, I hear you. Didn't mean to say they didn't. Democrats got hammered in 2010, and deserved it.

But I wonder if an insistence on ZERO revenue increases is really going to do the trick. Our policy is "DAFT" (Deficits Are Future Taxes). So the big run up in deficit is a tax increase of enormous proportions.

The question is whether WE are going to pay for our spending, or our children are going to pay, plus interest.

Jul. 12 2011 11:04 AM

Thirty long months ago those who questioned the "priority" of stimulus, Obamacare and other trillion dollar politically motivated vanity projects and regulations were derided, defamed and demonized with the assistance of the media who are now wringing their hands wondering what went wrong.
This administration went out of their way to punish and discourage business, they refuse to change now and if re-elected they will double down on their ideology and business owners know this and lack confidence to grow. The Republicans in Congress do have a mandate from last year from the voters to hold firm against this reckless mismanagement and withering demagoguery that brought us to this crisis point.

Jul. 12 2011 08:27 AM

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