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Could You Live on $300 a Week? How About $0? The 99ers Lose Their Insurance – Business – GOOD

Across the country, long-term unemployment insurance is drying up. Some 200,000 unemployed Americans lost access to government benefits earlier this month, most in California. All told, at least 500,000 people will fall off the rolls this year.

This is going to be a problem.

When workers who are eligible for unemployment insurance lose their jobs, the government pays them an average of $300 a week for 26 weeks or until they get jobs. When economic times are tough, federal and state governments often extend unemployment insurance; keep in mind that the average length of unemployment in the United States today is 39 weeks.

During this recession, the federal government has extended unemployment benefits for 99 weeks, but that comes to an end this year as Republicans push for spending cuts and Democrats lose the will to keep fighting for extensions—after all, we’re starting to see more hiring, right?

To put this in perspective, about 40 percent of the unemployed, or 5 million people, are eligible for the long-term benefits; a large majority of those, about 3.9 million, have been without a job for more than a year. Meanwhile, there are only 4 million job openings in the country for 12.5 million people without jobs, so it’s not exactly a robust labor market.

Read the rest of this article at  Could You Live on $300 a Week? How About $0? The 99ers Lose Their Insurance – Business – GOOD.

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