About 1.8 million Americans will face a cutoff in unemployment benefits in January if Congress doesn’t extend emergency federal unemployment insurance (UI) before returning home for the holidays, according to estimates from the National Employment Law Project (NELP). The maps below show the sharp drop in the number of available weeks of benefits across the country. The first map shows the number of weeks of benefits now available through the regular state UI programs and the emergency federal programs (details available here): The second map shows the number of weeks that will be available if the federal programs expire the first week of January. Note that in six states, workers will have even fewer than the 26 weeks of benefits that state UI programs have historically provided because of cuts that these states made to the regular UI programs this year. The NELP report (which includes state-specific estimates) says that the 1.8 million workers affected in January include:
As we have explained , UI is critical both for unemployed workers and for the economy, and the economy is still too weak to allow the current programs to expire. The holiday season will be a whole lot bleaker for millions of jobless workers and their families if Congress does not act this week or next to maintain these critical programs.