Yet Another Jobs Dilemma

Hey look, a whole new crisis: By the end of the year, as many as 1.5 million jobless Americans will have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

The National Employment Law Project, a privately funded advocate for the unemployed, released a study over the weekend that’s caused quite a stir… a perfect storm brewing for nationwide joblessness. According to the group’s research, over 140,000 people have collected the maximum unemployment benefits the government allows. By December, there will be 1.4 million more.


So a swell of long-term-jobless folks suddenly stripped of government support, right as the unemployment rate blows past 10% and toward 11%? It’s already over 15% in Michigan… could get a little nasty.

Thus, Congress is under pressure to extend benefits again. Emergency extension legislation has already bumped unemployment programs to 79 weeks in half the states, about triple the norm and the longest since its 1930 inception (the rest of the states have programs ranging from 46-72 weeks). Word on the street is that Congress will tack on another 13 weeks for states with unemployment rates over 9%… at a cost of $70 billion.