USA Today (12/01/13) Paul Davidson
The National Employment Law Project says around 1.3 million jobless Americans will lose extended jobless benefits by the end of December and another 850,000 will lose unemployment insurance from January through March if Congress fails to renew the program. There are concerns that such a move would hit these households especially hard, considering that a temporary increase in food stamp benefits was phased out on Nov. 1.
Although the unemployment rate has dropped from 10% in October 2009 to 7.3% in November, 36% of unemployed Americans, around 4.1 million, have been without a job for at least six months. NELP says the percentage of long-term unemployed receiving benefits will decline to 25% if the emergency program is not renewed, down from 34% currently and 45% a year ago. Ending the extended unemployment benefits would also lower economic growth by 0.15 percentage points in 2014, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.