Renewing Federal Emergency Unemployment Insurance 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 are set to expire in December 2012.
More than three 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 below 8 percent – but job seekers continue to outnumber job openings by more than three to one, and the ranks of the long-term unemployed remain at historic levels. As of November 2012, more than four out of ten jobless workers – nearly 4.8 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) are set to expire at the end of December. These benefits have played a critical role in the recovery, helping families avoid falling into poverty and spurring continued job growth by keeping dollars flowing into the economy. Allowing benefits to expire while unemployment remains very high would, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), contribute to “the single largest projected economic drag posed by federal fiscal policy.” As Congress debates whether to extend a number of provisions set to expire in the months ahead, it must prioritize renewing federal unemployment benefits to help the long-term unemployed and promote a stronger recovery.
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