For this segment of our video series, we here at want to tackle something that’s been a hot button issue on our discussion forums lately: unemployment.

High Unemployment Rates

The US unemployment rate has been hovering around 10% for the past year, reaching as high as 14% in some states like Michigan. There are as many as 9 people searching for every job opening advertised in these areas, and with this level of competition, you can imagine that people are pretty worried about their employment status.

Recent debates in the Senate over unemployment benefit extensions, which would provide additional support for millions of people who are currently without work, has not helped to calm these fears. Despite moves to block the extension by Republicans such as Jim Bunning, who claim that these benefits are costly and do not address the fundamental problems causing unemployment, a $140 billion bill was passed in a 62-36 vote by the Senate earlier this week, to the relief of those whose unemployment benefits were set to expire this month.

Some Gaps in Extension Coverage

However, while the bill does extend benefits for those who are within the tiered unemployment program, for “long term unemployed,” those who have been unable to find employment in over a year, the bill does not add a 5th tier. Therefore, those who have already reached the end of the program will not receive unemployment benefit extensions.

Recent Developments

Since this segment was filmed, President Obama signed the jobs bill into law, saying that it is a great start to addressing the problems of unemployment in the country, but is “by no means enough.”

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    • jack

      I live in Wisconsin and they found a way to block tier 4 benefits. They released their own numbers.
      Dept of labor and stats shows we should qualify. I am sorry to say that our president only cares about one thing. Himself. He dosn’t care about anyone out here suffering. This healthcare bill is all about his ego and will actually force businesses to lay of workers. Those of us who can’t find work and are out of benefits are doomed. Good luck to all…..

  • james1122

    This is my last euc check and i would be at the max of 99 weeks. I have 8 kids and search for work day in and day out. I pray to god that theres a 5th tier. Although the money isnt alot, it help me pay some bills and feed my family. I dont have a clue of whats next to come. Please congress, pass another tier for the long term unemployed to help us out! Please let there be a tier 5 for the long term unemployed

  • Chad

    I think they will get a 5th tier done,but it will probably be a month or two down the road,when they start seeing all of the forclosures and defaults of the 99ers and the economy start going down hill again they will do something about it.

  • butterflymom

    Thats a shame because what they will wait until these people have lost the little they have and are homeless to help when they can help now and actually make a difference if the banks or rich people need something they would get it right away I am ashamed of our gov't for this. At a time when thousands and millions of Americans are suffering the gov't is doing major overhauls to already crappy systems. This is just ridiculous where are all of the social workers and advisers to the gov't.

    • Rick

      There has been a lot of talk about people will be homeless if there is no tier 5 unemployment extension. Well I am now homeless living out of my car, and find it hard to believe I’m in this postion to start with! I mean, how do you go from having a job of which, you’ve been with for more than 8 yrs as Sr.Sales Mgr making 75k a yr to being homless is just perplexing!

      I have been unemployed for 18 months (used my own money before I filed for unemployment for 3 mos) now, and have filled out or sent well over 1,457 apps/resume yet, failed to gain employment. As you well know there are very little jobs available out there, even with a degree I still find it difficult to gain employment. Most companies look at my work history and say I am over qualified and thus, pass over my application! Job training is something least effective with my education and work history as most program go over the basics. Don’t get me wrong I will take any position out there reguardless however, getting them to call is the real problem!

      The current law that was passed does not add additional weeks to current extended employment benefits nor does it offer a tier 5 , which is badly needed!

      A few News stations have been reporting that “Congress does not have the political will to pass a unemployment extension bill that will add more weeks or another tier.” These kinds of statements concerns me greatly taking into account my current unemployment situation. Additionally most of the information I have received in regards to the adding of tier 5 unemployment benefits for the “Long-Term Unemployed”; is the Republican Party (are the main source, as to why; there has been no steps taken to address the plight of the long-term unemployed.

      I hope that Congress understands that the 3.6 million long-term unemployed that are effected by this and are looking for this to be added to the current bill or a new one. More time to file for unemployment is great however, extension of benefits (tier 5) for the long-term unemployed is needed. Without it more and more long-term unemployed will end up like me or worst!

      • Anonymous

        i feel bad for you, i agree with what you are saying here. my son and i was living in my car and now i have no car. but things are super hard now. we live in florida. i worked as a district manager for a wireless company for years now and owned a business at the same time. the business got bad from no customers spending, and i sold things at cost and below to make rent. my job laid off over a hundred workers with no severance pay or anything. if i did not have my son, i do not know what i would do. i do hope things get better, and that there will be a tier 5 to at lease help a little. take care.

      • Anonymous

        I have a friend who has been out of work since 2006 and right now I will be starting the EB because NJ is 9.7% and my county where I live is 11.9% just here. With gas prices on the rise and people hoping for another extension, I think there is going to be an uprising in this country! When i first got unemployment the State sent me a letter advising myself and many other to put a security freeze on the 3 major credit agencies which “could” cost a job application to be processed. The reason it was suggested is because THEIR agency inadvertedly sent the wrong employers many peoples personal information during the quarterly reports. The State came right out and said they are sorry but have no way of knowing where our SS number and personal info went. So I go and applied for a job opening in a bank and told them I would have to unfreeze my credit info with a “pin” for them to see it. Guess what? Too much trouble to do that and by the time I got the Pin number for the bank, the job was filled. So in one hand they screw up and say freezing your information could cost you a job but you should do it to avoid identity theft. Go figure!

  • Sybil

    Bottom line – there needs to be a tier 5 and possibly tier 6…..there are no jobs. There are not going to be any jobs this year or even next year to accomodate all who have lost their jobs due to this recession. And dont believe the statistics of those collecting unemployment – they paint a rosy picture – but whats not included in the picture are the people who are no longer collecting unemployment because their benefits have run out. Include those people in the picture and our unemployment rate is probably at about 15% not 9.7% as stated. Congress – do the right thing – you bailed out the banks and wall street – now bail out your fellow americans (remember – the ones who elected you to office)Since there seems to be an issue with how the unemployment will be paid for – why dont you go to the banks and wall street and make sure there are no bonuses for the people who made it necessary for them to be bailed out in the first place. Punish the right people – not the ones who are laid off, desperately looking for work, and collecting what little money unemployment pays while praying for a job that just isnt there……

  • Rick

    I am in the same boat as everyone here. My tier 4 just ended and the only way there will be a tier 5 is if people don't complain on blogs but complain to their state senators. They are the ones who can push for a tier 5. So start emailing the senators. I have been doing it for weeks. As far as jobs go it is simply impossible to find anything right now. In the last 2 months alone I have sent out over 400 resumes and have been on one interview. Unfortunately I did not get that job. Oh and by the way I went to a very good college and have a degree.

  • johnxxxxx


  • Dee

    I am not happy. I need the extension also. My tier 4 is about to run out next week. I will have a panic attack as soon as it sinks in. I wish we had all those good data entry jobs and customer service jobs we had at one time but guess what? They outsourced them to India, that is why I am in this situation in the first place. The meaning of Insane is when people keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Keep sending our jobs abroad and importing workers and we will be the ones living in the streets begging.

    Dee in Delaware

  • Wesley Jones

    James I am in the same boat as you. I lost my home in DC. Had to move to NC with family and I was hoping for better news in NC. I have two weeks left. I pray for a tier 5 also. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  • joe

    They need to see BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD and they will get it……

  • jh443

    Please do not confuse people. This so-called “extension” does not – I repeat NOT – offer any additional benefits. All it does is continue the four Tiers that have already been passed. The word “extension” applies only in the sense that it extends the deadline to apply for Tiers 1-4. It should actually be called a deadline renewal instead of an extension.

  • Rhoda

    Instead of the 7 billion dollars they gave Haiti, why don't they put that money back into the U.S. and help the american people who need it. I'm sick and tired of bailing every country out and not helping our own.
    I'm sorry for how that sounds but we need the money here too. We are hard working americans having a hard time right now and the government turns its back on us. Since I lost my job, I also lost my health insurance and in the intermin had a heart attack. Just got the bill from the hospital, guess I'll pay the 30,000 I now owe the hospital out of my unemployment check. HaHa. I'm actually starting to hate my own country for how they treat us. The big policians who get their big checks and can afford to put food on their table and buy whatever they need don't care. Don't pay them for 1 month and see what happens.

  • californiaScreamin

    What little we have managed to salvage from our Unemployment Lifestyle Downsizing Project is only because of the tiny amount of unemployment benefits that my husband gets each month. This is our last month. I have watched my husband, an out of work engineer, send out countless resumes and even walk into fast food restaraunts looking to flip a burger for a buck. There is nothing. We will be homeless if we dont get some help. I have never been on welfare in my life. I will do whatever in my power to avoid that but we just need more time for jobs to come around.

  • Dallen

    If anything is done on a tier 5, it will be just before the November elections. They are not about to pass an extension now only to have it exhaust before November and then have to listen to all the complaints again. They know how desperate everyone is. There just isn't any upside politically for them to do this now. About the only thing that will get their attention now is starving babies in the street. Even then I doubt if the Republicans will care.

  • Ryan

    Call…email…concentrate on the news media….

    the dems are going to play with this until they see it as a definite opportunity to get a political bump…mostly to offset all this teabag nonsense with the health care bill.
    It's quite simple…extend some of the stupid tax cuts…the estate tax is a favorite…to keep the redneckicans quiet and extend benefits for another 6 months…

    pretty simple…actually. and politically easy for both sides.

    cry bitch and scream…do what moronic tea baggers do…give the media something to feast on….it's the only way

  • Jamie

    I am on my last tier 4 check and I really need a tier 5 and probably 6. I have two kids and am in school and I havent even had an interview in almost 2 yrs. FL is doing really bad and I dont really see much hope in the near future 🙁 I am praying they approve more tiers and hope all the unemployed people dont lose everything before they decide whether or not they will help us any longer.

  • timoregon

    Tier 5 is needed by so many people. There simply are no jobs. I have been hired 3 times only to find out that the oppositions got canceled just before I was to start. It has been madding. I am not to Tier 5 yet but I can see it coming. With the Health Care bill passing I know from my meetings today that employers are holding off new hires to see what this does to them. This was the worst time for this to pass.

    Please support this and call, email and write. I have sent out messages to everyone I can think of.

  • scott

    wake up people they passed health care and now will try make all the spics leagal. extensions are in the back burner.

  • Alfonse

    7 billion! You know if they can send that much cash down there, why not contract some of us unemployed Americans to rebuild the place rather than just dumping cash into that country. I'm a single guy and I'd sign up in a heartbeat if I knew it would offer some job security for at least 6 months to a year. They should at least try implementing many more different programs and options for the unemployed and not just always throw cash at the situation. I mean we need that 5th tier now but I understand, of course, how nobody wants to pay for it. I've got 2 weeks left on tier 4, by the way.-Al

  • Gwen

    Why on earth do people keep blaming the republicans? Both are to blame. By the way I lost my job as a result of the DEMOCRATIC congress. They were the ones in power when the economy started tanking. Not only did they let it tank but they went after states like Florida where I worked. They stopped planes from flying to Florida on some triped up regulations bull which caused tons of people including me to loose our jobs. JUst so they could get obama elected. And He's fixing everything just like he promised, NOT!!

    • Anonymous

      Gwen, I was a Republican up until last week. Want to know what I think? They are sneaky snakes and after 40 years I have officially changed my party to “Unaffiliated”. Even with the census going out, they continue to bombard us with phone calls and envelopes with the word Census on it, so you open it and maybe “then” you will checkmark their survey. I am sick and tired of their crap! Obama has been in office just over a year and accomplished a heck of a lot and kept food on the tables of those of us who would be on welfare had the unemployment checks stopped coming. The Republicans do not like it that he is making very unusual choices because they know the majority of people are US..the unemployed and if we keep the checks coming until we get work, then we are FOR Obama and his Democratic party. They are all sneaks but this latest one I have no tolerance for. Instead of trying to help they are blocking everything that is for the middleclass…oops I mean us poor people. The majority. I see an uprising and it had BUSH written on it before Obama showed up.

  • jimoconnor

    I lost my job in 2006. I have worked over 40 years in the Information Technology profession. No one will hire me –because of my age and too much experience.

    There is a dire need for a Tier 5 extension of Unemployment Benefits. The fact that the national unemployment rate is at 10% and the true unemployment rate including discouraged workers is probably around 20% indicates an emergency situation.

    People on Unemployment Benefits who were let go “due to no fault of their own” are the victims chiefly of the financial collapse caused by the greedy and irresponsible actions of the banking, insurance and manufacturing industries. Many of the aforementioned industries saw fit to award themselves billions of dollars in bonuses after receiving bailout money.

    Most of us on Unemployment Benefits will never return to the income level they were at when we were let go and/or it will take years to get back to it. Most of us are also spending retirement savings to make ends meet.
    Please put partisan politics aside, do what is right and help us with a Tier 5 extension of unemployment benefits. Many of us have no where else to turn.

    Thank you for your time

    Jim O’Connor

  • Kat

    Tier 5 is desperately needed before we lose everything… it sure isn't the American dream we're living

  • Robert

    MY party of tier 4 ran out weeks ago. Im donw to asking churches for toilet paper and bath soap. Lucky me!!!!

  • tiredPA

    News out of Reid's office is they don't have time to vote on either the long term extension HR 4213 nor the temporary extension HR 4815 this week. So, benefits WILL run out on April 5 and the Senate will address it when they get back from thier two week break. Call Reid's office and demand they address HR 4815 this week. Senate Majority Leader Reid: (202) 224-3542

  • Dick

    Tell ya what!, come November I'll be voting for everyone that is not in office now. Only way to show these jerks you mean business is to vote them out!!!

  • vimal

    Tier 5 now.

  • jacqi

    This is nuts – what do they think is going to happen to all of us who run out of our tier 4 in the next couple of weeks ? No jobs still – so how are we supposed to survive ? most of us have already moved in with family and friends because we couldnt afford rent/morgages anymore…so without a tier 5 – should we pick thru the trash cans and beg for food ? forget things like the phone, gas, food, lights,…those with children can get welfare but those who do not have kids under 18 will be in the worst situations. Please be kind to those you see living in their cars and sleeping in the streets – and those who ask for money to buy food – becasue I am sure you will start seeing this all over this country very soon. Without a tier 5 and the creation of real jobs for those of us who are note those are able to get involved with government contract jobs – because there are just no new jobs or growth in businesses to accommodate all of us. I have lost hope and just so sad.

  • Judy

    I am in tears for all of you—–what has happened to our great country? Sending positive thoughts to all.

  • roscopcoletrain

    It's strange hoow this Bunning guy is the focus with UE benefits. Weher the heck had Harry Reid been? He could have had an extension ready to go to the house before Monday. What has the Senate been doing for the last thre weeks while the house was consumed by the healthcare bill? Now the Senate is too busy getting ready for a vacation to take a simple series of votes? Can these guys walk and chew gum at the same time? I gotta stop now befor I type something I get booted for.

  • Chedar

    There are many things to be blame both Democrat (under Bill CLinton ) and with Bush (Repub the worse) as well as Alan Greenspan. Both of these presidents and the fed reserve was too lax with money. The SEC was basically rendered useless and the trillion $$ lost by so many finance company like AIG and Lehman Bros due to no independent government guarding what boo boo they are doing.. Together with all the toxic assets in the real estate bring this country down into a tail spin. It was toward the end of the BUSH (Inept president) admin that things are really really bad. Unfortunately, Obama has to take over this economic mess. While bailing out the banks and financial system in this country (Obama expect that while saving the banks, the banks will lend the small busines so the small business can hire people), he missed looking after the main street who needs the job desperately. So we are experiencing the biggest unemployment ever. Meanwhile, we have to keep on spending with no choice but to a greater amount of deficit. Unfortunately, without the deficit spending, we will be like Japan unable to dig us out of the hole for many years to come.

  • s.

    The goverment needs to get it's heart and eye's back to what is really important in this country, the American People. To all those in high places please do not do things with just words or tongue but with actions and truth.

  • scared in florida

    Maybe we should not count on the government and ask the rich and famous to do a benefit for the unemployed americans like they do when there is a disaster in another country. The government will not care but will be sorry when desperate people do desperate things.

  • calif

    r u for real if it werent for 8 years of Bush this country would not be in the condition it is now.

  • Nicole

    I cannot believe that we can bail out auto companies, banks, and all of the neighboring countries, but when it comes to our own we turn our backs. It is because these damn Senators only see these companies as paying them back. I have been an employed worker all my life and have paid into the system until 2 years ago when I was laid off, I am a 99 weeker and well my EUC just ran out today. I am thankful I had unemployment no matter how much it was. I want a job, and deserve a job. I was very successful and was very well off until all of this hit, and now well…. I believe that we need to look at home first, and we need to take care of our own first. I am all about helping others and paying it forward, but can't we do that here? We need to make sure we are sure footed then we can help everyone else. As for our Government, they have misrepresented us, spent our money foolishly now and in the past, made some very miserable decisions on our behalf and when we need the help, they go on Easter Break? Hmmm…. and my entire working life I have paid for them to do this to me? I hope they have a great Easter Break. Thanks again Senators!

  • AL

    You can thank the Republicans for this. Anyone making under $200,000 a year an vote republican is BEYOND me! Which I believe over 90% of the country makes UNDER $200,000 a year. Fortunately, for me I make over that amount per year and I STILL would NEVER vote anything republican! They have NO idea what it's like to be a regular person and have some down times financially. UNTIL our country understands this the Republicans WILL ALWAYS VOTE AGAINST ANYTHING to help those less fortunate. The rich will get richer!! Good luck to all those on unemployment..

  • mcnealprissy2010


  • frustratedandpoor

    I feel bad for everyone that has to depend on unemployment. I have one week left on my initial claim and have been told that I am not eligible for an extension, at least many are collecting the additional tiers.

  • frustratedandpoor

    I feel sorry for everyone that has to depend on unemployment. I am on my initial claim which ends in one week and was informed that i do not qualify for any extension, at least for many they are collecting on the additional tiers.

  • Tom

    If you can give unlimited money to people who dont or never worked then why can you not give us who have worked and paid into unenployment and welfare much needed money?????????????????????????????

  • cretinsk8

    i do wish that they have a tier 5. i do not want unemployment, i want a job. unemployment does help a little. i am a single dad with a 9 year old son that has worked all of my life. i have been evicted and lost everything. my son keeps me positive. we do help so many people, but we the unemployed are suffering. i pray that this does not last long, i have never seen this before. i always thaught that anyone who wants to work, can find something. that seems to be untrue now. my unemployment ran out 2 months ago. i am frind hopping with my son, and this is no life for any one ever. i pray that everyone here does find something.

  • barbarahenry

    I must also agree, as I had been working for GM dealers for the last 20 years, and have been laid off from my management position since 2008. The last three dealerships that I worked at are either closed or have changed ownership and no one wants to hire me, despite my experience and qualifications, without recent job references. I have even returned to school, to no avail.
    I have exhausted my 4th tier and have noe become delinquent on my houes payment, and am preparing to move into my RV for now until something changes. The 5th tier would allow me to stay in my home, if it is passed sometime soon. I have used all of my savings and retirement money to live frugaly for the last 2 years.

  • joe

    Start defaulting on all of your debt now! SAVE as much as can !! Trust me dont wait until its too late . The government will fail you as soon as you reach 99 weeks! DO IT NOW YOU WILL THANK ME LATER…

  • joe

    Start defaulting on all of your debt now! SAVE as much as can !! Trust me dont wait until its too late . The government will fail you as soon as you reach 99 weeks! DO IT NOW YOU WILL THANK ME LATER…

  • local customer

    I couldn’t agree more. I have been a NT customer for 19 yrs and run my practice through it, use it personally and have had several loans, line of credit etc….Got the same demand…obviously they could care less about what most banks would find important beyond availability of 2M liquid assets not imcluding retirement funds.