April 14,2010

Press Contact:

Scott Mulhauser/Erin Shields
(202) 224-4515 

Baucus Examines Options for Creating Jobs through Unemployment Insurance

Finance Chairman considers job funding, work-sharing, self-employment programs to save and create jobs

Washington, DCSenate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) convened a hearing today to explore opportunities for creating jobs through the Federal Unemployment Insurance program.  Baucus examined the effectiveness of new programs for Americans receiving unemployment insurance that would give employers new resources to create jobs, work-share programs that help employers save jobs and self-employment programs that provide assistance to entrepreneurs who create their own jobs.

“For millions of Americans, the unemployment insurance system provides a vital safety net, but these unemployed Americans want more than an unemployment check – they want to be back at work,” Baucus said.  “So let’s look for ways our unemployment insurance program can be new, innovative and common-sense.  Let’s take a focused look at how our unemployment insurance system can provide more than safety-net support, but can also save jobs and create new jobs right away.”

During today’s hearing, Baucus questioned experts on innovative state unemployment programs and explored the most effective ways the federal program can directly create jobs.  Baucus examined work-sharing, which is used in 17 states today to avoid layoffs, by allowing employers to trim the hours for which they pay employees and use Unemployment Insurance funds to maintain the full-time jobs. 

Baucus also discussed opportunities for encouraging entrepreneurship to create jobs.  He considered a New Jersey program that gives participants weekly “Self-Employment Assistance” compensation along with business start-up training and counseling instead of unemployment benefits.  This program allows entrepreneurs to not only employ themselves, but often successful start-up businesses will also create other jobs and help reinvigorate the economy.

New programs that would give employers new resources to hire Americans receiving unemployment insurance are another option Baucus explored.  States like Montana and Texas use such job-subsidy programs to match workers who have been unable to find jobs for extended periods of time with job openings in their area.

Baucus especially stressed the importance of helping our military men and women find good-paying jobs when their service to the country is completed.  He also noted the need to reverse the current practice of penalizing unemployed workers who find part-time jobs by revoking their unemployment benefits.  This practice, Baucus said, discourages workers from finding part-time work and the incentive should be reversed.