Extending unemployment

Patrick Gibbons

People who understand free-market economics have long understood that some Americans want to copy everything that doesn’t work in Europe while ignoring everything that does. I’m not talking about socialized medicine; I’m talking about European-style unemployment.

Since 2008 the U.S. has continually extended unemployment benefits beyond the 26-week maximum period. The duration of the benefits has been extended to as much as 99 weeks. Not surprisingly, more and more people have remained unemployed in the long run.

European unemployment lasts a notoriously long time. Generous benefits – some life-long – encourage people to forego seeking employment and instead collect benefit checks for as long as possible. Not surprisingly, there are more long-term unemployed in Europe than are in the short-term and medium-term categories combined.

Senator Harry Reid and many others want to keep the extended unemployment benefits flowing. Unfortunately, this only means we will see longer, European-style unemployment.

Percent of unemployed by unemployment duration

*Source: Eurostat

According to Eurostat: For the EU27 and all Member States, short-term unemployment refers to a duration of unemployment of less than one month, medium-term unemployment to one to six months, and long-term unemployment to six months and more. For the U.S., short-term unemployment refers to a duration of up to five weeks, medium-term unemployment to five to 26 weeks and long-term unemployment to 27 weeks or more. In all cases, unemployment is still ongoing at the time of the reference week.

Read my full article on this subject: “How politicians’ ‘compassion’ delays economic recovery.”