Fed. unemployment benefits to expire for 1.3 million nationwide - KMOV.com

Fed. unemployment benefits to expire for 1.3 million nationwide

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By Belo Content KMOV By Belo Content KMOV

People in Missouri and Illinois are among the 1.3 million nationwide waiting on United States lawmakers to extend unemployment benefits.

Federal unemployment benefits will expire on Saturday, and if Congress does not act those who utilize the program will lose the money. That would affect about 80,000 workers in Illinois alone. Those people would get their last payment in the first or second week of January.

In early December, the White House Council of Economic Advisers and Department of Labor issued a joint touting how jobless benefits buoy the economy, while keeping 2.5 million workers out of poverty each year.

The White House pointed out in a report that if benefits expire, U.S. GDP could fall next year by 0.2 to 0.4 of a percentage point, according to the Congressional Budget Office and a J.P. Morgan Chase economist.

Republicans have said in memos that the program has already cost $252 billion through July.

The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program - or EUC - was first signed into law in June 2008 by President George W. Bush, when the unemployment rate was 5.6% and the average duration of jobless insurance was 17.1 weeks.

The unemployment rate climbed to more than 10% at the height of the Great Recession in 2009, and the government extended the federal benefits.

However, thanks to a weak recovery, those benefits have been either extended or expanded 11 times, most recently on Jan. 2.

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