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Sunday, February 28, 2010

1.2 Million to Lose Unemployment Benefits Today

by Calculated Risk on 2/28/2010 08:59:00 AM

Just a reminder ...

From John Schmid at the Journal Sentinel: Unemployment benefits for 1.2 million Americans could expire Sunday

Nearly 1.2 million unemployed Americans ... face an imminent cutoff of government unemployment checks if Congress cannot pass emergency legislation to extend federal benefits before funding expires Sunday.

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) released a report in early February showing:
1.2 million jobless workers will become ineligible for federal unemployment benefits in March unless Congress extends the unemployment safety net programs from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). By June, this number will swell to nearly 5 million unemployed workers nationally who will be left without any jobless benefits.
Currently, 5.6 million people are accessing one of the federal extensions (34-53 weeks of Emergency Unemployment Compensation; 13-20 weeks of Extended Benefits, a program normally funded 50 percent by the states).
The plan had been to pass a 30 day extension, and then pass a 2nd bill in March to extend benefits for a year. Now apparently the plan is to pass the larger bill this week. If Congress acts quickly, the impact on the unemployed will be minimal because the benefits will be retroactive to March 1st.

The long term unemployment issue isn't going away any time soon. The following graph is based on the January employment report and shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more ...

Unemployed Over 26 Weeks Click on graph for larger image in new window.

The blue line is the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more. The red line is the same data as a percent of the civilian workforce.

According to the BLS, there are a record 6.31 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks (and still want a job). This is a record 4.1% of the civilian workforce. (note: records started in 1948).