Labor and Employment

It’s no secret: During this recession, record numbers of workers who lost jobs are drawing benefits from state unemployment funds. Many states are feeling the pinch. In fact, the U.S. Senate approved legislation Tuesday night that extends federal emergency unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted their basic state unemployment benefits.  But that won’t resolve the dire unemployment insurance situation.

As unemployment rates have skyrocketed in the economic downturn, state unemployment insurance funds are being depleted at increasing rates.  As funds run out, states are borrowing from the federal government, raising taxes and cutting benefits. 

State eNews Issue #41, March 3, 2010

Even as economists are touting the end of the Great Recession, states are still dealing with the challenges associated with the market collapse, housing bubble bust and a multitude of other fiscal challenges.

A new report from the Brookings Institution calls for Great Lakes states to create region-wide investment fund.

Study highlights striking differences in condition of state retirement systems.

Iowa is offering an early-retirement package to state employees as part of its budget-balancing plan for fiscal year 2011.

State eNews Issue #40 | February 18, 2010

n 2000, more than half the states had fully funded state employee pension funds; that dropped to six states by 2006 and four states by 2008, according to a new report from the Pew Center on the States.
State eNews Issue #39 | February 3, 2010


President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, with its strong jobs and middle-class families themes, seemed to echo the famous Clinton campaign war room posting, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

As the national economy warily recovers from the Great Recession, state finances continue to face monumental challenges in grappling with the sharpest drop in tax receipts in decades.  And, even after slashing their budgets substantially in fiscal year 2009, states are staring at new mid-year gaps that have opened up in the current fiscal year (2010) with more gaps forecasted for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.  While none of this is new information, what makes the state fiscal outlook quite daunting is that the current revenue shortfalls and huge budget gaps masks a number of enormous fiscal challenges looming in such areas as healthcare, education, public pensions, emergency management,  infrastructure, transportation and unemployment insurance.  States will have to contend with these significant challenges once the current crisis abates.

States are using a variety of tactics to get people back to work through retraining programs, most of which are on community college campuses.  Big enrollment increases, couple with state budget cuts, is leaving many colleges in a fiscal crisis.

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