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Renewing Federal Emergency Unemployment Benefits: Vital for Women & Families - and the Economy

Persistently high unemployment – and historic levels of long-term unemployment – necessitate renewing federal emergency unemployment insurance benefits that expired in December 2013.

Four and a half years after the severe recession that began in December 2007 officially ended in June 2009, the slow economic recovery has brought the national unemployment rate to 6.7 percent – but job seekers continue to outnumber job openings by almost three to one, and the ranks of the long-term unemployed remain at historically high levels. Recent improvement in the national unemployment rate has been due primarily to people dropping out of, or not entering, the labor force due to weak job opportunities.  As of December 2013, nearly four in ten jobless workers – almost 3.9 million Americans – had been unemployed for more than six months.

Federal emergency unemployment benefits for long-term unemployed workers who have exhausted their state benefits (typically 26 weeks) expired at the end of 2013. These benefits have played a critical role in the recovery, keeping families out of poverty and spurring continued job growth by keeping dollars flowing into the economy. Allowing benefits to expire while unemployment remains very high cuts off a lifeline to unemployed workers and their families and slows potential for economic growth, which experts
predict will lead the labor market to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Renewing federal unemployment benefits would help the long-term unemployed and promote a stronger recovery.

Download the full fact sheet below.