Schumer: Jobless Benefits ‘The Best Stimulus There Is’

Matt Cover | December 6, 2012 | 3:49pm EST
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In this Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, photo, an unidentified job seeker uses his iPad to help fill out job applications at the Fort Lauderdale Career Fair, in Dania Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

( – Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that extending long-term unemployment benefits would be the “best stimulus there is” for the economy, saying it would create the most jobs for the money.

“At the end of last year, there were 5 million people receiving emergency UI [unemployment insurance]. This year, there are only 2 million. It’s working,” Schumer said at a press conference Thursday.

“We’re all talking about a stimulus. How do we get the economy moving? This is the best stimulus there is.”

Schumer and fellow Senate Democrats called for yet another extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed before the current benefit extension expires at the end of the year.

Recently, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that a full-year extension of the benefits would cost $30 billion and create approximately 300,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

CBO’s estimate is not saying that extending benefits will create 300,000 new positions or that 300,000 additional people will be hired, but that the demand created when the unemployed spend their benefit checks will in turn pay for enough work-hours to equal 300,000 full time jobs. The actual job creation figures could be far lower.

Even if CBO’s estimates turn out to be correct and a full-year benefit extension does create 300,000 jobs, it amounts to a per-job cost of $100,000 – a steep cost for the government for what would amount to the equivalent of an extra two months of job creation if the economy continues to pick up next year as expected.

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