The extension for unemployment benefits that is part of the compromise tax deal is good news for many of the unemployed, but it won’t provide aid to anyone who’s been out of a job over 99 weeks.
As we’ve explained previously, the extension worked out by President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans only lets unemployed workers continue to draw benefits for up to 99 weeks, it doesn’t extend the duration of the program beyond that point. Those who have exhausted all currently available benefits — so-called 99ers — won’t be granted an extension.
That’s a concern because the number of 99ers may be increasing. The number of people who have received their final payments from extended-benefits programs this year through the end of October — the most recent month for which data are available — is over one million, and that number has been steadily increasing. Separately, the Labor Department reported that nearly 10% of the unemployed in the third quarter of 2010 — more than one million people — had been out of a job and looking for work for about two years or more. Meanwhile, initial claims for unemployment have been trending lower recently, but the biggest surge came in early 2009. The peak of 643,000 claims in a single week came in March of last year, 89 weeks ago. Anyone still unemployed since that peak is likely to run out of benefits soon, if they haven’t already.
Full Story: Unemployment Extension Won’t Help 99ers [WSJ]