By Susan Ricker
Two of the hottest topics this election season are employment and the economy. When you're following the presidential debate on Tuesday night or just listening to the news, refer to this glossary of job-related terms and you'll better understand the issues.
Disability benefits: Social Security benefits provided to those who can't do work they previously could or who can't adjust to other work because of a medical condition, and the disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. This differs from the resources provided to those with short-term disabilities, including worker's compensation, insurance, savings and investments. Those receiving disability benefits aren't counted among the unemployed. (Source: Social Security Administration)
Discouraged workers: People not currently looking for work, because they believe no jobs are available. These workers are not included in the unemployment rate. (Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Displaced workers: People 20 or older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do or their position or shift was eliminated. (Source: BLS)
Employment projections: The trends expected in job growth, employment, education and training, supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Source: BLS)
Employer-provided insurance: Health-care coverage offered to employees by employers. (Source: BLS)
Extended benefits: Available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. The basic extended benefits program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits when a state is experiencing high unemployment. Some states have also enacted a voluntary program to pay up to seven additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of extended benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment. (Source: Labor Department)
Involuntary part-time workers: The number of people employed part time for economic reasons, such as their hours have been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job. (Source: BLS)
Labor force: The sum of employed and unemployed people. Not included in the labor force: retirees, students, those taking care of children or other family members and others who are neither working nor seeking work. (Source: BLS)
Long-term unemployment: Those jobless for 27 weeks or more. (Source: BLS)
Unemployment benefits: See "unemployment insurance."
Unemployment insurance: The Labor Department's unemployment insurance programs provide benefits to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who meet certain other eligibility requirements. For instance, in Illinois, if eligibility requirements are met, the program ensures that those who receive UI will have some income while looking for a job, up to a maximum of 25 full weeks in a one-year period. State requirements may differ.
Unemployment rate: The number of people, as a percent of the labor force, who do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks and are currently available for work. (Source: BLS)
Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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