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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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Restoring jobless benefits

With the economy still in recovery, now is not the time to cut off the long-term unemployed.

Because Congress failed to act, the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation  program expired at the end of last year.

EUC is a federally funded safety net for unemployed individuals who have already collected all regular state benefits they qualify for. 

About 1.3 million jobless workers relied on the program, which has existed since the recession began in 2008, the New York Times reported last month.

Because long-term unemployment continues to be an issue, the federal supplement was a financial lifeline for millions of Americans. Typically, states provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, which generally should be enough time for the beneficiary to find a new job. But long-term unemployment is still at its highest level since World War II. Long-term unemployed workers currently make up 37.3 percent of the total unemployed population, the Washington Post reported Jan. 29.

The economy has not seen enough growth to warrant cutting off the long-term unemployed, and there’s little evidence that they will find jobs any easier if their benefits are cut off. Given that there are 3 unemployed people for every job opening, the failure to find a job can hardly be blamed on the 1.3 million workers who relied on EUC.

The current Congress has done little to spur economic growth and — despite ample evidence showing that the nation’s economic hardship is far from over — allowed crucial income for the long-term unemployed to expire.

On Thursday, the Senate will vote on a new bill to extend long-term unemployment benefits. Lawmakers from both parties and both chambers should support this legislation and reinstate the much-needed lifeline for the nation’s long-term
unemployed.

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