In two months 65% of all filers for unemployment insurance will have run out of their standard 26 weeks. That means a total of 4.4 million people will have exhausted their basic benefits.
Although some may be able to receive an additional year of unemployed benefits, traditionally the Labor Department doesn’t track anyone that has moved beyond 26 weeks of unemployment in its weekly tally on continuing claims.
And as CNN reports the Labor Department has no plans in place to track this segment of the population once their 26 weeks are up.
What this means is that soon the government might possibly be reporting significant declines in continuing filers. Some will take this news as a sign that there is dramatic turnaround in the economy, and thus continue to promote the notion that the recession is over; however, all it really suggests is that more and more people are falling off the radar.
This is similar to word that the number of Americans reporting job losses falling to its lowest level in six months. That data, though somewhat encouraging, may be attributable to quirks in the auto industry (i.e. their massive layoffs taking place at the beginning of the year) rather than any significant improvement in the job market.
The unemployment rate currently sits at 9.5%. The federal government still expects that figure to rise to as much as 10%.
With jobs still scarce, and now the possibility that millions of Americans will be largely ignored in government data, is there in fact another potential crisis looming if the government isn’t keep track of all those struggling?
If you are in danger of losing your unemployment benefits, or have in fact already lost them, I’d love to hear your story.
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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.