"[The] jobs report shows that labor markets still bear the scars of the Great Recession despite 38 straight months of private-sector job growth and a drop in the unemployment rate from 7.9 percent to 7.5 percent since January. Unemployment remains stubbornly high and many people who would likely have a job in a stronger economy are not even looking for work. Consequently, the share of the population with a job remains well below what it was over the two decades before the recession started in December 2007 (see chart).
"It’s time for lawmakers to recognize that unemployment is too high and there is no looming debt crisis. Spending money on job creation now is not incompatible with deficit reduction and debt stabilization over the longer run."
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- Policy Basics: Unemployment Insurance
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The federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) system helps people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages. Created in 1935, UI is a form of social insurance, with contributions being paid into the system on behalf of working people so that they have income support if they lose their jobs. UI also helps sustain consumer demand during economic downturns, by providing a continuing stream of dollars for families to spend.
The UI system includes an extended benefits program, which provides additional weeks of benefits to jobless workers in states where the unemployment situation has worsened dramatically. In addition, during and just after recessions, the federal government has historically provided funding for additional weeks of benefits in all states.