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New York News

200K New Yorkers Begin Exhausting Unemployment In 3 Weeks

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-935026.mp3

Albany, NY – The NY labor department sounded the alarm late Friday : 200,000 unemployed New York state residents will have their unemployment benefits cut off by the end of the year if Congress fails to continue the extensions that are currently in place. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Unemployment insurance extension programs currently total 93 weeks in New York State. They are set to expire on November 28th.

Congressional Democrats, who will be in the minority in the House and have a diminished majority in the Senate, are considering a three- or six-month extension when lawmakers return to Washington this week for a brief lame-duck session. If the extensions are not continued, 400,000 unemployed New Yorkers could lose benefits by May, 2011. State Labor Commissioner Coleen Gardner addressed the jobless benefits issue: "Finding a job is a full-time job for hundreds of thousands of unemployed New Yorkers, but they don't have to do it alone," said Commissioner Gardner. "To the unemployed: I urge you to go back to your nearest One-Stop Career Center right away. To the '99 weekers' out there: we know you're struggling. We haven't forgotten about you. To our nation's lawmakers: now is the time for decisive action on behalf of our nation's unemployed. There is not a moment to lose."

The National Employment Law Project says 2 million jobless American workers are poised to lose benefits by Dec. 31. That's a little less than half of all who currently receive unemployment benefits.

Heidi Shierholz, a labor economist with the Empire Policy Institute in Washington-DC, says extending unemployment benefits would actually benefit the US economy by creating upwards of 488-thousand jobs.

For a complete list of NYS One-Stop Career Centers, click here.