Labor and Employment

Among the many strategies of employers seeking employees is a growing tactic used in their help wanted classified ads indicating a requirement that the applicant be “currently or recently employed” thus disqualifying millions of qualified applicants who were laid off when the recession began in 2008.

Elevated unemployment rates remain an indicator of significant economic distress for many states. In June 2013, the national unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, unchanged from May but 0.6 percentage points lower than a year earlier. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from June 2012 to June 2013 while seven states had increases and six states had no change.

Shortly after the Great Recession began, states started struggling to keep their unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds afloat. UI trust funds are used to pay out unemployment benefits to citizens. Primarily because of sustained high unemployment rates, long-term unemployment and unsustainable funding models, those UI trust funds have been exhausted, leaving states with a negative balance no choice but to borrow from the federal government.

Unemployment rates remain high and many people have been without work for extremely long periods of time, exhausting state unemployment trust funds quickly. More than half the states are borrowing from the federal government to cover costs, which could have an impact on future fiscal stability.

Earlier this week, Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill (SB 193) making Connecticut the first state in the nation to require certain businesses to offer paid sick leave to their employees. The new law seeks to address a potentially serious public health issue - when confronted with the possibility or losing pay or possibly their job, many employees come to work even when sick. 

Unemployment rates remain high and many people have been without work for extremely long periods of time, exhausting state unemployment trust funds quickly. More than half the states are borrowing from the federal government to cover costs, which could affect future fiscal stability.

As state leaders came together to hammer out their 2012 fiscal year budgets, they faced a challenging task: Find a way to close huge budget gaps while facing an increased demand for services like unemployment benefits. Sustained high unemployment rates, long-term unemployment and unsustainable funding models have exhausted state unemployment trust funds, requiring states to borrow large sums from the federal government. As of March 2011, 31 states had borrowed more than $42.5 billion from the federal government to continue paying unemployment benefits, and sizable interest payments on those loans come due in the fall of 2011. Paying back those loans with interest will be a struggle and could have an impact on both economic recovery and future fiscal stability.

State governments play an important role in national and regional economic conditions and are subject to prevailing economic conditions. The Census Bureau’s official statistics provide a full picture of the early impact of the most recent recession from tax revenues to expenditures to employment.

Chapter 8 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Yesterday, opponents of Ohio's recently-passed collective bargaining law marched through the streets of Columbus to deliver almost 1.3 million signatures, more than enough they say to put a repeal question on the November ballot.  

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