Last year is ended on a high note, at least in terms of one economic indicator: the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in December. Despite that good news, many states are still experiencing record unemployment; this rampant unemployment was the number one issue addressed by state legislatures this past year. Here is a brief look some key issues state legislatures tackled in 2011:
- In an effort to modernize and update their programs, as well to pull down available federal funds, several states overhauled their unemployment compensation laws.
- Maine and Pennsylvania added work-sharing laws.
- New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, and New York passed laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against the unemployed when hiring. A proposed federal law is also pending in both the House and Senate. read more…