According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 5.3 million Americans will become unemployed in June. That number should scare you like it does most people. How can our economy be “doing so well” when this many people are going to become unemployed in June? The reason you don’t hear much about this number is because it’s politics and how hiding the details makes it look not so bad. The catch is that new hires will total approximately 5.8 million in June which will counteract all those job losses. But let’s talk about that number of people who will become unemployed again. 5.3 million, that’s a lot of job losses for one month. Most of those workers will lose their health insurance, some will be able to claim unemployment but have to go through hoops, wait a week or two before they even become eligible and then only receive a small amount of money to help with their loss of employment. Sudden loss of employment can put a person or family in financial ruin, if there’s any doubt, look at how many people lost their homes during the great recession.
In Florida alone, there are close to 400K people unemployed in any given month in 2018. Some will find jobs quickly, others may be searching for months. Florida has some of the weakest protections for the unemployed with a maximum benefit of $275/week (4th lowest in the country compared with Massachusetts at $742/week). That’s only 6.88/hour if you calculate for a 40 hour work week and on top of that you owe income tax on that amount bringing it down to $234/week maximum. With a 1 bedroom apartment in S. Florida starting around $950/mo., a person could not even pay their rent, let alone, food, electric, water, etc. To make matters worse for Floridians they can only claim a maximum of 12 weeks or just 3 months before their benefits are exhausted. Florida’s unemployment program is a joke especially in South Florida where the cost of living is quite high. With Florida’s abysmal unemployment system, even the lowest paid workers begin their endless cycle of financial despair after a job loss. How is this system good for America? It’s not and it needs to change.
What if there was a solution for this?
There is. It involves creating a Federal Unemployment system that uses cost of living data across the US to determine what is needed to calculate real costs of living based on your city and previous income to come up with a figure that will help the American worker sustain themselves for a period of time while they are in between jobs. Unlike the system in place today across Florida and many other states, unemployment compensation shouldn’t be limited to just low income workers but also provide a reasonable safety net to the middle class who the backbone of the American economy.
If you think Florida employers cannot afford higher UC costs, you need to know that the employers pay an average of only $161 for Unemployment contributions annually per employee. That averages out to $3.09/per week.
One of the reasons why the American economy has failed to bounce back is because workers from the lowest paid through the middle class, do not feel safe and protected. Many are only one unexpected unemployment away from financial ruin. I have developed a framework of comprehensive worker protections that you can check out the highlights at: www.TheNewFaceOfWashington.com for more information. Join the fight for better American worker protections today.