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Georgia labor chief faults benefits to jobless

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ATLANTA --- Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler takes a major departure from his predecessor, Michael Thurmond, by arguing that benefit checks distributed by the agency he heads might make unemployment worse.

Butler  AP
AP
Butler

Thurmond lobbied for extending the unemployment benefits to the current period of 99 weeks last year when he launched an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Georgia's 9.8 percent unemployment rate is worse than all but seven other states.

Butler, the first Republican to head the Georgia Labor Department, told a luncheon audience in Newnan last week that such benefits discourage some people from taking another job, especially one that pays about as much as the benefits.

"Somebody who's been on unemployment for a very extended time, and this is not everybody ... will say 'I'm not looking for anything right now but will when my benefits are about to run out,' " he said Monday.

He bases his comments on conversations with Labor Department managers around the state who tell him they see people get the most energetic about finding a job when they approach the end of their benefit period. At the same time, some employers, such as temporary-staffing companies, tell him they can't find workers to fill their openings.

Butler said the unemployment insurance program shouldn't postpone people's recognition that they might have to move, take a job in another field or take a lower-paying position.

"It's supposed to help you get by until you can get a replacement job. It's intent is not to be a replacement income," he said.

Mercer University economics professor Roger Tutterow agreed that nearly two years of unemployment checks could discourage some people.

"I think it's reasonable to believe if you're receiving unemployment benefits you might not be as aggressive," he said.

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judgeandjury
32
Points
judgeandjury 06/27/11 - 04:00 pm
0
0
Butler is right on target!

Butler is right on target!

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 06/27/11 - 04:21 pm
0
0
Finally somebody that is

Finally somebody that is going to do something to encourage people to work. I am a big advocate of training being available when your current field is not hiring and I think tuition support for education is great. I do have a problem with someone saying I can do just as well not working. Yes you do very well but I don't I have to work twice as hard to pay for your food stamps and medical care.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 06/27/11 - 06:05 pm
0
0
Studies have shown that when

Studies have shown that when the benefits end jobs are often found within 30 days. MANY people who actually have money, etc. still qualify and others use these funds while conducting their continued illegal activities.

Of course we should help other in time of need but a "stop gap" measure to help someone look for another job is around 2 -3 months maximum. If a person still needs assistance, it should come from family, friends or charity not from the taxpayers.

PR
0
Points
PR 06/27/11 - 07:19 pm
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Butler doesn't have a freakin
Unpublished

Butler doesn't have a freakin clue. I've been out of work for over 18 months and I would much prefer working to collecting unemployment. I ve applied for over 300 jobs and only had a handful of interviews. Butler needs to be fired and get someone in there that understands what DOL entails. He is a typical worthless republican jerk.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 06/27/11 - 07:30 pm
0
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Gee, I've known for years now

Gee, I've known for years now that extending these unemployment benefits will do (mostly) one thing. Keep people from going back to work. Now, I'm not talking about going to a job equal to what they had. None of us (except govt workers) have the same pay that we had 3 or 4 years ago.

Time for unemployment bene's to end. If you've been getting them more than 6 months, you are just collecting welfare. The amount you & your employers contributed for you are LONG used up!

allhans
24865
Points
allhans 06/27/11 - 07:51 pm
0
0
PR. You are likely the

PR.
You are likely the exception rather than the rule. Anybody with half a brain would know that giving money away doesn't make for more employment.

y8700
0
Points
y8700 06/27/11 - 08:20 pm
0
0
I became unemployed a year

I became unemployed a year ago. Unemployment helps, but, as you are trying to get back on your feet you are penalized by anything you earn over about $50 by reducing your unemployment. This reduction you never see again. Remember you are entitled to x number of weeks with a maximum benefit. At 62 I ran face first into gross age discrimination. I lost my house, my savings, and health care. Then I lose a portion of my unemployment benefit. I have 15 years experience in chemical manufacturing and 15 years in nuclear processing and have a Masters degree in education. There is nothing the labor department can teach me to get a job. Many people merely want to get back on their feet. Sure the losers you'll find at the computers looking at Facebook.

DanK
784
Points
DanK 06/27/11 - 10:08 pm
0
0
Butler is a disgrace. The

Butler is a disgrace. The majority of people on unemployment are there because they got laid off and now facing age discrimination, or had a serious health problem that took them out of the workplace. All these people who right-wingers claim are just hanging around drawing checks, living on the public dole, not even trying to work, just don't exist. Those people ran through their benefits long ago. What's left now are the 2.9 million people laid off by the large corporations, the victims of the current recession. I know 3 people who are well educated, constantly searching, interviewing for every job they can. But they are all in their 50s, and are currently unemployed (companies toss the applications of unemployed people), and there just aren't jobs out there because the corporations have outsourced everything overseas. But they are too young to draw social security. My heart goes out to these people every day. They do anything they can think of to try to make ends meet. Morons like Butler have no clue what the demographics of actual unemployed people are in this state.

sand gnat
675
Points
sand gnat 06/27/11 - 11:16 pm
0
0
You can thank the democrats

You can thank the democrats for putting all of these people "on the reservation". Now, they don't want to get off. Jobs are out there. It may not be what you want, but remember; it's always easier to find a better job when you have a job. Ninety Nine weeks of government paychecks coming out of working people's pocket is way too long. You get used to that "free" money. Butler definitely has it right on this.

southern2
7782
Points
southern2 06/28/11 - 11:28 am
0
0
I thought unemployment was

I thought unemployment was funded by those in business through unemployment payments to the state and not from working peoples pockets.

ejmac
0
Points
ejmac 06/28/11 - 02:07 pm
0
0
Quoting from the above

Quoting from the above article:
"He bases his comments on conversations with Labor Department managers around the state who tell him they see people get the most energetic about finding a job when they approach the end of their benefit period."

Compare that quote with a quote from the AJC of July 5, 2010, one year ago:
"Butler said he wanted to institute random drug testing for Georgians getting unemployment benefits on the grounds that a failed drug test would make them ineligible because they might not be employable. Both he and Everson said they had concerns that there was too much fraud or malingering going on by the unemployed, who were content to draw their unemployment stipend."

Apparently our Labor Commissioner has been going around the state getting agreement with a position he had already developed at least a year ago.

With unemployment in Georgia being higher than the rest of the country, I can understand why the Commissioner would want the unemployed to "Get a Job, any job!" After all, such a high unemployment rate reflects rather poorly on his ability to help those he is entrusted to serve. If this kind of performance continues, it might even force Mr. Butler to go back and appraise real estate for a living.
Rather than implying that anyone drawing unemployment benefits is gaming the system, the commissioner should realize that his constituents are availing themselves of insurance they have bought and paid for. The Insurance benefits are designed to allow people the time necessary to find employment that will utilize their existing skills, or if those skills are no longer in demand, obtian training to develop new skills.
Given the Commissioner's job performance so far, and the downturn in the real estate market, it may be a good idea for the Commissioner to get some training in a new field, or learn to repeat "You want fries with that?"

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