This Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of the Social Security Act
, arguably the greatest determinant of labor policy the US will ever see. But as SFR reported
this week, unemployment (let alone Social Security) doesn't quite work like a well-oiled machine.
And despite New Mexico's 8.2 percent unemployment rate
, last weekend, benefits were reduced
from 99 weeks to 93. Read more after the jump.
Let's start with a little bit of background. According to numbers
from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, New Mexico's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been climbing steadily since August 2007. Check it:
That gives us a graph that looks like this:
Not so great, right? But even though our unemployment rate is almost five percentage points above
where it was in 2007, last week, Workforce Solutions announced that New Mexico was no longer eligible for Tier IV
, the final six weeks of unemployment insurance for people who have already exhausted 93 weeks' worth. (This happened because our unemployment rate dipped below 8.5%, the Tier IV cutoff. Currently, it's at 8.2%.)
That announcement followed on the heels of Congress' decision to renew
an extended unemployment benefits program—set to expire in June—through this November. The bottom line: New Mexico will be able to accommodate more unemployed people, but for shorter time periods.
Unfortunately, that may be the opposite of what we need.
This July, the punditry
(on both sides
of the aisle) freaked out about what the Washington Post's Ezra Klein dubbed
"the scariest jobs graph you've seen yet." It's the Brookings Institution's take
on how long it'll take us to return to pre-recession employment levels:
That's job growth per month on the X axis, and how many months that
level of job growth would take to get us back to pre-recession levels on
the Y axis. Notice that adding new jobs at a rate of 200,000 a month
would take us 150 months—or 12.5 years—to get back to normalcy. So
far, only April has seen more than 200,000 in non-census jobs growth—and even then, just barely.
Yeah, and know what happened to all those census jobs? They ended,
prompting newly dire reports
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So what's the takeaway?
New Mexico, and especially Santa Fe, consistently fares better than the national average in the unemployment sphere. But neither are we immune to national trends. And if the recently coined
"Great Stagnation" pattern continues, it'll take the country a long time to get back on its feet.
On a more personal level, people who are unemployed may stay that way for longer
—but as my Taoseña friend always says, "We've always been poor, so we're better at it."
You stay classy, Santa Fe.Drew Lenihan contributed reporting.