On December 28, 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expired.
Normally, a person can collect unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. The EUC program extended that duration to 73 weeks, although the exact time varied by state.
Democrats are eager to extend the program, noting that the long-term unemployment rate is still 2.6%.
They are planning to vote on a bill today that would extend emergency benefits for another three months at a cost of $US6.4 billion. So far, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is the only Republican who supports the legislation, although others have said they would consider it if Democrats included a spending offset.
The EUC program has had considerable success in helping Americans who find themselves out of a job for a lengthy period of time. A new report this morning released by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, reveals just how important jobless benefits have been
A few key findings:
- Unemployment insurance has kept 11 million people out of poverty since 2008.
- 69 million Americans either received or lived with someone who received unemployment benefits during the past five years.
- More than 60% of those who receive benefits are between the ages of 25 and 54.
Senate Democrats are hoping to gain support from their Republican colleagues who are from states with high unemployment. Klobuchar’s report also maps out the long-term unemployment rate in each state.
North and South Dakota have the lowest long-term unemployment rates at 0.6%. Rhode Island’s is the highest at 4.1%. New Jersey and Nevada (where Sen. Heller is from) have rates of 3.9%.
Here’s the full map:
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