Legislation proposed in the House and Senate yesterday would renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program through 2014, providing critical support for long-term unemployed Americans. That’s important because, without congressional action, the EUC’s benefits will end on December 31 for more than a million unemployed Americans who have been looking for work for at least six months. Many more who lost their jobs more recently or will lose them in coming months will get no additional help in 2014 beyond their regular state-funded jobless benefits, as we explain in a new paper.
EUC, like the federal emergency unemployment insurance (UI) programs enacted in every major recession since 1958, is a temporary program that provides additional weeks of UI to qualifying jobless workers during periods when jobs are hard to find. Emergency federal UI not only helps relieve hardship among those jobseekers and their families; it is also widely recognized as one of the most cost-effective ways to increase demand and spur job creation in a weak economy. Both of those tasks — relieving hardship and boosting the economy — remain necessary today.
Although the economy has been expanding for over four years, unemployment remains much too high, especially among those who have been looking for a job for six months or more:
Update, January 7, 2014: we’ve replaced the graph to correct an error in the dating of the 1980s recession.
We already have too much unemployment and economic hardship and too little economic growth and job creation. Letting EUC expire would make a bad situation worse.
Click here to read the full paper.