1 mil Californians to lose unemployment benefits

Over the next year, an estimated 1,013,384 California workers will lose the unemployment benefits that help them stay afloat while looking for jobs, unless Congress acts, according to a new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee held a teleconference with reporters today and e-mailed copies of the report to demonstrate the impact of letting the benefits lapse. Nationwide, almost 7 million workers will be affected.

“Extending this support to those hardest hit by this crisis is not only the right thing to do, it’s the right economic policy,” Goolsbee said in a statement touting the report. “Letting millions more Americans fall into hardship will hurt our economy at this critical point in our recovery and immediately undermine consumer spending.”

Without extended benefits, California would have had 115,948 fewer jobs as of September 2010, and failure to act to extend benefits again could cost the state 89,399 jobs by the end of next year, the CEA report says.

Democrats tend to cite economists who say unemployment benefits are an effective means of economic stimulus, because recipients are more likely to spend the money immediately on their basic needs – food, clothes, housing and so on – and so put it back out into the economy rather than saving it.

Republicans tend to say there’s simply not enough money in federal coffers to extend the benefits, and that it would be better to extend tax cuts for the wealthy – including some small businesses – in order to stimulate job creation.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    The GOP doesn’t oppose payments to the jobless per se, rather the Repubs say there should be an off-setting spending cutback. The argument that the jobless spend right away and thus stimulate the economy is a dressed-up version of the Townsend Plan (US) or Social Credit (Canada), phony nostrums of the 1930s. It’s a bit of a joke that liberals no longer support higher savings by the middle class but rather point their finger at consumption. As for the “wealthy,” who miraculously remain rich despite the stock market doldrums, they are far more likely to provide employment than relief recipients.

  • Tom Benigno

    I wonder what comments would be made if the spouses of those who are collecting unemployment, were of the GOP party? That’s a good question.

  • Patty O’Day


    What makes you think they are not? Trust me, I have lots and lots of Republican friends that are on unemployment. Do you seriously think only Dems are out of jobs? That makes no sense.

  • John W


    Not to argue but to clarify, how can it not be true that unemployment benefits go directly and immediately into the economy? Not talkin’ esoteric economic theory. It just makes common sense, wouldn’t you think? And, for once, I agree with Patty O’Day. Unemployment cuts across political lines. However, I doubt that many of those middle class unemployed who vote Republican would agree with the stance taken by the GOP on the issue of unemployment benefits.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Tax breaks should be given to businesses and individuals who create jobs. Workers feel better than non-workers receiving unemployment checks, and will borrow against future pay.

  • John W

    Re #5

    Businesses will hire when they have the need, not when we give them a tax break to hire. However, we need to get rid of disincentives to hire.

  • Jose M.

    I’m happy to get another year off unemployment! I think everyone should get the ability to take time off. I’ve been able to spend the last two years exploring new approaches to my artwork that I never had time for when I was working. I hope to explore new mediums for expression that will allow me to more fully understand the use of new technology in art. I would advise everyone to consider unemployment, and stop living the rat race nightmare of slave wages, and don’t worry about the money…the government will rightly provide forever, it won’t ever get stopped.