Revenue Laws draft agenda

The Revenue Laws Study Committee is expected to offer its recommendations for changes to the state’s unemployment insurance system. The changes were discussed at the committee’s previous meeting in December.
Here’s the draft agenda for today’s meeting via the meeting documents page for January 8, 2013:

Rep. Julia Howard
Sen. Bob Rucho
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Room 544, Legislative Office Building
9:30 a.m.
I. Approval of Minutes from the December 5, 2012, Meeting
II. Overview of Draft Report
Legislative Proposal #1: UI Fund Solvency & Program Changes Cindy Avrette, Research Division, NCGA
Legislative Proposal #2: Revenue Laws Technical, Clarifying, and Administrative Changes Trina Griffin, Research Division, NCGA
III. Approval of Final Report

Unemployment insurance meeting

The General Assembly’s Revenue Laws Study Committee meets this morning and will review the state’s unemployment insurance program and proposed changes for the upcoming session.
Audio links page here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Room 544, Legislative Office Building, 9:30 a.m.
I. Approval of Minutes from November 8, 2012, Meeting
II. Bill Draft: Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Solvency & Program Changes
Trust Fund Solvency: Benefit Changes, Contribution Changes, and Fund Balance Changes
Cindy Avrette, Research Division

Simulation of UI Tax and Benefit Reforms
Rodney Bizzell, Fiscal Research Division

Considerations for Refinancing the Debt
State Treasurer’s Office Workforce Development Initiatives Aubrey Incorvaia, Fiscal Research Division Roger Shackleford, Assistant Secretary, Division of Workforce Solutions, Department of Commerce

UI Programmatic Changes
Greg Roney, Research Division Comments from Interested Parties

III. Bill Draft: Revenue Laws Technical, Clarifying, and Administrative Changes Trina Griffin, Research Division
IV. Adjournment

NC unemployment rate rises

(Click on the chart for full size)

September employment numbers are out.

The North Carolina seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.5 percent in September, an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point over the month, and 0.5 of a percentage point higher than September 2010. Over the month, the number of persons unemployed grew by 4,498 (1.0%). The civilian labor force was relatively unchanged at 4,506,313.

Government jobs show the biggest decline with a loss in the past year of about 18K jobs over the past year.
Complete report here (pdf).

RALEIGH – The number of people employed in North Carolina increased slightly in September, but the unemployment rate ticked up by one tenth of one percent. Since September 2010, private sector jobs have increased by 28,400. In that same time frame, the government sector is down 18,700.
“The private sector has added jobs since September of last year,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes. “Meanwhile, government jobs have declined, according to the seasonally adjusted data.”

We’ll see how this breaks down in the individual counties and municipalities next week when the local numbers are released.

More dismal employment numbers

Weekly unemployment claims are out this morning showing 401,000 new filers for unemployment.
Up from last week and no where near where it should be.
From MarketWatch:

Still, the economy remains weak, and hiring by historical standards is very slow at the current stage of recovery.

Yet another sign that policy is dragging down the economy.

CBO: Unemployment benefits staved off record poverty

So, since as many people have pointed out we know that this is the most efficient way to pump dollars into the economy and since this new CBO study (pdf) states pretty flatly that unemployment insurance has kept a lot of families from falling into poverty, can we just have some shutting the hell up about how it needs to be offset? Get on with it and stop playing games.

From the director’s blog of the non-partisan number crunchers at the CBO:

CBO examined the role of UI benefits in supporting the income of families in which at least one person was unemployed at some point in 2009. The analysis addressed how that role varied with the amount of family income and the number of weeks of unemployment for all family members. CBO also examined how the poverty rate and related indicators of financial hardship would have differed in the absence of the UI program.

Major Findings of the study:

* Almost half of families in which at least one person was unemployed received income from UI in 2009. In 2009, the median contribution of UI benefits to the income of families that received those benefits was $6,000, accounting for 11 percent of their family income that year.
* Both the percentage of families receiving UI benefits and the median annual benefits received by those families over the course of the year were larger for families with more weeks of unemployment than for families with fewer weeks of unemployment.
* In 2009, about 14 percent of families had income below the federal poverty threshold; those families received about 8 percent of total UI benefits paid out during the year. In contrast, 67 percent of families in 2009 had income more than twice the poverty threshold; those families received about 70 percent of total UI benefits. The higher-income families received a larger share of benefits for several reasons: because only people with sufficient recent work histories qualify for benefits, benefit levels rise with previous earnings, and receiving benefits tends to push families into higher income groups.
* Without the financial support provided to families by UI benefits (and under an assumption of no change in employment or other sources of income associated with the absence of that support), the poverty rate and related indicators of financial hardship would have been higher in 2009 than they actually were. For instance, in 2009 the poverty rate was 14.3 percent, whereas without UI benefits and under the assumption mentioned, it would have been 15.4 percent.

So why all the posturing over something that makes so much sense. As some guy who won a Nobel in economics put it during one of the previous tussles over an extension:

The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused.