Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data on the number of job openings as of the last day of November. The number, a mere 3.2 million, is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 14.5 million Americans still relying on unemployment insurance. That number doesn't count all those Americans who are no longer collecting unemployment because they're no longer eligible for benefits or because they've given up looking for work. It also doesn't count the high number of Americans who would like full-time work but are struggling to piece together a living instead from part-time jobs without benefits.
As the Iowa Independent notes, this should make the conservative charge that the long-term unemployed are made lazy by extended unemployment benefits ring hollow. There's not a lot you can do when there just aren't enough jobs out there. Imperiling the well-being of the unemployed by denying them enough money with which to eat, pay rent, and have transportation isn't going to make them any hungrier for work than they already are. But it will go a long way toward making the actual job of looking for work even harder than it already is.
-- Monica Potts