On Tuesday, the House voted to extend unemployment benefits for Americans who live in states where the unemployment rate is greater than 8.5 percent. 400,000 people were set to run out of benefits at the end of September, and will now continue to receive them until the end of the year if the bill passes.
The new federal extension applies to 27 states, and will be funded, to the tune of $1.4 billion, with a tax on employers.
As Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke stated earlier this month, while the recession may be over and the economy is growing, that isn’t doing anything to reduce the jobless rate. In fact, many experts expect it to go higher.
The House action reflects the continuing depressed state of the job market despite some signs that the economy is recovering. The unemployment rate now is 9.7 percent and economists see it topping 10 percent in 2010.Some 5 million people, about one-third of those unemployed, have been without a job for six months, the highest number since data was first collected in 1948. There are nearly six unemployed for every available job.
”The job-finding situation is still dire,” said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the research and advocacy group National Employment Law Project. ”Until we figure out how to create jobs there is so much collateral damage” from neglecting to help the jobless, including people losing their homes and facing food insecurity and mental depression, he said.
Here, according to the AP, is the list of states where the extension will apply, if passed.
Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
(Photo: clementine gallot)