Oh Snap! And other trends in unemployment

The number of people who were unemployed in Illinois in May 2011 was 584,969. Astoundingly, this figure is up by 9,817 compared to April 2011.

Illinois is the fifth most populated state in the United States with a current population of 12,830,632. The most populated states in the United States and their respective unemployment statistics are:

  • California – California’s population stands at 36,580,371, the number of people unemployed in the state as of May 2011 totaled 2,117,262.
  • Texas – The number of people unemployed in Texas in May 2011 was 985,656, the population of the state stands at 24,304,290.
  • New York – Of the 19,467,789 people currently resident in the state of New York, 752,094 were unemployed in May 2011.
  • Florida – Florida has a population of 18,423,878, and in May 2011 the unemployed total stood at 979,527.

Government Food Assistance (aka – SNAP, Food Stamp, Benefits)

According to an article from The Wall Street Journal dated February 2011:  Some 43 Million Americans are now on some type of Government Food Assistance. More than 14% of the population drew food stamps in November to purchase groceries as high unemployment and muted wage growth crimped budgets. The number of recipients was up 0.9% from October, according to the new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Compared to a year ago, the number of people receiving food stamps was up 14.2%.

Let’s break that down according to the states we mentioned above:

  •  Illinois – 1,732,169
  • California – 3,521,881
  • Texas – 3,925,119
  • New York – 2,934,493
  • Florida – 2,994,413

I know I have dealt with this issue personally with family members, neighbors, and friends and have taken the opportunity to ask them questions in regard to both these issues. It was interesting to hear the responses such as:

  • “I hate being on government aid and assistance and am actively looking for work so I can stop getting this support and make it on my own two feet”
  • “I’m going to ride out this unemployment and get what I can until it runs out, then I’ll look for work”
  • “I think I’ll get a part-time job and say on food-stamps to supplement”

I can’t tell you how many times I hear the second response of riding out unemployment and then looking for work. I get it, you feel entitled to every penny you get from the government. But what I don’t get is that you don’t want to continue looking for work, get a job, so you can support yourself and stop having to rely on the government.

That poses another question: Is our government perpetuating this type of response by extending unemployment benefits? And what happens when the government stops all benefits – where do we turn to then?

What’s your take on this issue?