July 19, 2010
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Millions of Americans who can’t find work are holding their breaths, waiting to see if Congress will extend their unemployment benefits or cut them loose. Dr. Ira Wolfe, who is a work force expert and president of Success Performance Solutions in Lancaster, says that without the extension, unemployed Pennsylvanians will face even tougher scenarios, and taxpayers still lose.
“It is allowing them to put money back into the economy, pay for food, pay for expenses, and if that money goes away, then we have more defaults and we end up paying that money anyway.”
Wolfe says the decision to extend benefits may get clearer for some in Congress with mid-term elections drawing closer.
“Certainly, making a decision to not extend benefits, especially when unemployment is eight percent and higher, is pretty much political suicide.”
Wolfe says the job market was on a collision course for some time leading up to the recession.
“There was going to come a point in time where automation and technology and the gap of skills was just going to collide, and the recession didn’t create it, it accelerated it. So, seven percent or seven-and-a-half percent unemployment may be a norm for an extended period of time.”
Those who oppose the extension say it’s too costly.
Latest jobless numbers for Pennsylvania show the state lost 6300 jobs last month, though it had a net gain of 64,000 jobs in the first half of the year.
Governor Ed Rendell says that doesn’t change the fact that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians are unemployed and looking for work.