California Assembly Passes Vital Unemployment Insurance Legislation
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“The California Assembly did the right thing today by passing ABX3 23, critical legislation that would help the state’s unemployed stay afloat in this worsening economic storm.
“With unemployment now higher than it’s been in a generation, the state’s jobless desperately need the Legislature and Governor to address this crisis swiftly to ensure that benefits don’t dry up when families need them the most. The 20-week extension of federally funded benefits the bill provides to the long-term unemployed helps not just those who are out of work, but also the local economies and small businesses they support.
“Extending unemployment benefits by accessing billions in federal funding should be a no-brainer. The Legislature and Governor have an opportunity to put partisan politics aside to ensure that a vital lifeline to California families isn’t cut. It’s real economic stimulus that will help those in need and pump millions of dollars into our state’s economy.
“Today’s vote in the Assembly was a good first step. The bill now moves to the State Senate, where the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee will consider it on Wednesday along with SBX3 3 (DeSaulnier), a companion measure to draw down $839 million in federal funding by updating the state's unemployment insurance eligibility rules. We urge swift action on these important measures; California families are depending on it.”
By the Numbers: Unemployment in California
* Number of employed Californians: 16,621,000
* Number of unemployed Californians: 1,950,000
* Overall unemployment rate in California: 10.5%
* Number of CA jobs lost between Feb 08 and Feb 09: 824,000
* Number of California counties with unemployment over 15%: 21
* Unemployment benefits paid out in California in 2008: $6,818,097,000
* Average CA weekly unemployment benefit: $307
* Increase in unemployment between Feb 08 and Feb 09: 69%
* Workers that exhaust benefits before finding a job: 50.1%
* Unemployed Californians receiving UI assistance in 2008: 43%
By the Numbers: Impacts of UI Legislation
* Workers benefiting from the alternative base period: 26,300
* Federal funds available upon adoption of the alternative base period: $839,000,000
* Available additional weeks of federally funded benefits: 20
* Workers benefiting from the 20-week federal extension: 469,000
* Federal dollars to workers in extended benefits: $3,000,000,000
* Total economic stimulus effect of extension: $6,360,000,000