Unemployment Benefits Extended, Economic Solutions From Abroad

Late yesterday, the Senate passed legislation extending unemployment benefits for Americans whose standard 26-weeks of assistance offered by most states expired. The measure now moves to the House, where it is expected to gain quick approval and be sent to the President, who has vowed to sign it. The bill impacts about 2.5 million Americans whose benefits ran out in June. It will not provide further extensions for the more than 1.5 million Americans who are approaching their 99th and final week of emergency assistance. Do the severity of the recession and slow job creation in the early stages of the recovery warrant an extension of benefits beyond the maximum 99 weeks? Or, do additional extensions provide a disincentive for aggressive job searching, as some have suggested? What can 99ers do to turn their job-search fortunes around and overcome the obstacle of long-term joblessness?

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After a painful economic recession, Germany has seemingly bounced back as consumers begin buying German cars, so much so that BMW has reported giving bonuses to their dedicated employees, according to an Associated Press article. Moreover, since German employers reduced hours instead of staff, workers kept their jobs, allowing them spending money to pump back into the economy. Meanwhile, the labor market at home continues to suffer from high unemployment and long-term joblessness. However, manufacturing and consumer prices continue to improve over a year ago. What can we expect in the second half of 2010? Have tactics such as the ones employed in Germany been employed in the US? What other policies could improve the economy long-term?

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