Monday, December 13, 2010

Unemployment Benefits Run Out for Thousands

Time has run out for thousands of New Yorkers relying on unemployment benefits to help get them through each day, many who have been out of work for months.

130,000 people, on top of thousands more, equaling a staggering number of New Yorkers who are in a very tough situation.

"They all have one thing in common," says Colleen Gardner, New York's Commissioner of Labor. "They're running out of benefits during the worst possible time of the year."

Gardner says with the unemployment rate in New York State at 8.3 percent, looking for work is a full-time job for many.

Plus, she says a job in general is hard to come by.

"Plus, they're also facing a job market where there's only one job available for every five people looking for work."

Right now people who are out of work can remain on unemployment benefits in New York State for up to 93 weeks.

Unless Congress passes another extension this week, many will have no where to turn except for public assistance.

"Keeping them on unemployment helps keep them out of poverty, but it's also a boost to our economy. For every one dollar spent on unemployment benefits, two dollars go back into the economy," says Gardner.

If there is no change, another 70,000 people will lose their benefits by the end of this year, making a tough situation even tougher for so many.

"These folks are scraping by to begin with," says Gardner. "They live from unemployment check to unemployment check, and they're struggling."

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