According to a new report issued by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) – “Hanging on by a Thread” – nearly two million unemployed Americans will be cut off from federal unemployment insurance in January 2012 and millions more will face the same fate in the months following unless Congress reauthorizes the programs before they expire on December 31, 2011. The report warns a cut in federal unemployment insurance programs known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) would deal blows to the unemployed, businesses, and the U.S. economy. The report is at: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/UI/2011/NELP_UI_Extension_Report_2011.pdf.
The October 2011 report from NELP – a not-for-profit organization that conducts research on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers – found that 1.8 million jobless Americans would be cut off from federal unemployment insurance in January 2012 alone, including more than 430,000 workers laid off as recently as July 2011. Without these expiring federal programs, newly unemployed workers in many states would only be able to access 26 weeks of benefits through state unemployment insurance programs. California, Florida, New York, Texas, and New Jersey top the list of states facing premature cut‐offs, according to the report.
As proof that the United States is mired in a national crisis of long-term unemployment, the NELP report also points out that the unemployment rate has remained near or above 9 percent for almost two-and-a-half years and nearly 45 percent of the unemployed – more than six million people – have been out of work for six months or longer for almost two years. Overall, nearly seven million Americans are currently surviving on unemployment insurance benefits, and unemployment insurance has kept 3.2 million people – including nearly one million children – from falling into poverty in 2010, the NELP report found.
Since first enacted in July 2008, federal unemployment insurance programs have saved or created millions of jobs, including more than 1.1 million jobs in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone, the report claims. More than 17 million unemployed Americans have received federal unemployment insurance over the past three years and have put $180 billion back into local communities and economies hit hard by unemployment. For these reasons, NELP is calling for the renewal of the Federal Unemployment Insurance through 2012. For more information about NELP, visit http://www.nelp.org.
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