New numbers last Friday showed an estimated 157,000 jobs were added to the economy in January, returning the unemployment rate to 7.9 percent. As more and more Americans remain mired in long-term unemployment, let’s take a look at the misconceptions that often arise about the unemployed.
1. People who receive unemployment benefits are slow to search for work.
This oft-repeated statement might have a chance of being true if benefits were unduly generous. They aren’t. Weekly unemployment insurance payment averaged $300 in 2010 and 2011, federal statistics show.
It’s important to understand that unemployment benefits aren’t intended to replace a worker’s income. They provide support so financial hardship doesn’t interfere with a newly unemployed worker’s job search. Think of these payments not as handouts but as investments; warding off long-term unemployment saves money in the long run, or so the theory goes.