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Unemployment benefits end for thousands

January 1, 2013
Federal extended unemployment benefits have been terminated for over 6,000 jobless Idaho workers.

The extension, implemented in mid-2008 to limit the impact of the recession, expired last week. Workers receiving extensions will get their final payment this week for the work search they performed last week.

Regular state benefits of 10 to 26 weeks continue for some 15,000 workers who have yet to find new jobs.

“Idaho’s unemployment rate has dropped dramatically over the past 16 months – from 8.9 percent to 6.8 percent in November,” Deputy Director John McAllister of the Idaho Department of Labor said. “But competition for available jobs remains stiff, and consultants at the Labor Department’s 25 local offices can help workers improve their résumés and hone their interview skills to get an edge on securing that new job.”

Just over 6,300 workers received extended benefits last week. The payments averaged just over $248.

Since the program began, 95,000 Idaho workers have shared $900 million in federally financed extended benefits. Moody’s estimates that every dollar paid in extended unemployment benefits generates $1.61 in economic activity because benefit checks are immediately spent locally on rent, utilities, food, clothes for the family and other necessities.

About $1.3 billion has been paid in regular state benefits since the beginning of 2008, a month after the recession began.

At their peak, extended benefits added a maximum of 27 to 73 weeks of payments to the 10 to 26 weeks provided under the traditional state benefit program. As Idaho’s jobless rate has declined, the extension has been trimmed back three times in 2012 so that the maximum additional payments were 14 to 37 weeks, and all extended benefits have now stopped.

At the peak of the recession more than 41,000 workers were receiving jobless benefits each week. That number has fallen to 15,000 on regular benefits.

In addition to assistance on résumés and interview techniques, the 25 local Labor offices around the state offer training resources to upgrade work skills, advice on overcoming barriers to employment and tips on using social media to network into a new job.

More information is available at
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