POSTED: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 8:16pm
UPDATED: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 10:58pm
There was some more good unemployment news today.
But the big debate in Washington is over benefits and how long they should continue.
It’s an argument that’s raged as long as we’ve been paying benefits to the unemployed, starting in 1932.
At what point do they stop being temporary aid and start being a disinsentive?
The average weekly payment is roughly 36% of what your weekly wage was. Nationwide, the average is $300 per week.
And since 2009, the upper limit for benefits is 99 weeks.
But that limit is under discussion. As a trade off for extending benefits at the end of the year for those who will run out, Republicans in Congress want to gradually reduce that upper limit to 59 weeks.
They argue it can be an insentive to avoid work for a longer period.
Others say, these are extraordinary times, and finding the next job takes longer, on average, 3 times longer.
And the economy takes a hit because unemployment benefits are virtually all plowed back in to purchases.
In east Texas the unemployment rate in Tyler is at 8.5%...Longview 6.8%.
That’s about 16,000 fellow east Texans.
Statewide, about 230,000 are receiving regular benefits, but 78,000 will run out if the extension isn’t passed.
The good news… jobless claims have hit a 3 and a half year low, trending down 19,000 last month.