Unemployment Benefit Extension and Jobs Market Update USA Today March 6, 2014:
It appears that some Senators are content to let the slowly recovering U.S. economy present additional job opportunities for America’s unemployed, instead of agreeing to provide support for another unemployment benefit extension. Over a million Americans lost their long term unemployment benefits in late December and have been living without the federal lifeline since. The Senate has voted on a measure to extend unemployment benefits multiple times since, and failed every time. Although some policy makers believe that a recovering U.S. economy can provide enough opportunity for those that have exhausted their long term emergency compensation benefits, the recent jobs data has been weaker than expected.
This week, the payroll processing firm ADP reported that private sector employers added only 139,000 jobs in the most recent month. Although this total was greater than the private sector additions of 127,000 which posted in January, it still missed economists’ forecasts and was far below the average of 186,000 from the previous 12 months. It appears that the data is getting worse, not better. The U.S. economic recovery may be off track and there might be more blame to go around than just the harsh winter weather. The unemployed without benefits will look for the Senate to consider the facts and collaborate to pass an extended unemployment benefit plan.
This week, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has said that he will continue to work to gain the additional votes necessary for a 6-month unemployment benefit extension. The vote in the Senate is expected to happen next week. Although the vote was initially expected to take place this week, the bad weather is being blamed for a schedule that is too tight for a vote this week.