Congress canâ€™t forget needs of unemployed,especially in the hardest hit areas of Alabama
The latest statistics according to the Labor Department, the rate In Alabama of unemployment rose to 10.9 percent. This comes after a brutal recession the last 23 months, and it shows that unemployment rates continue to climb.
Alabama Department of Industrial Relations data continues to show that the Black Belt counties were among the hardest-hit in showing more than a quarter of the work force (25.1%) unemployed in Wilcox County alone.
While government economists say that hiring is the last part of a recovery from any recession, CongressÂ is left to quickly extend emergency federal unemployment aid, which will run out for more than a million people in January.
Alabama usually provides 26 weeks of unemployment insurance for those who lose their jobs, with weekly checks averaging about $300. But because of the length of this recession, Congress has extended those benefits four times, the latest on Nov. 6, when states like Alabama, with unemployment rates above 8.5 percent, received money for an additional 20 weeks of unemployment compensation.
The latest extension boosted the total number of weeks a person could collect unemployment to as long as 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states, but the bill that passed earlier this month will provide additional compensation only through Dec. 31 for those who have used up their 26 weeks of base unemployment compensation â€” even in the states with the highest unemployment rates.
If new money is not allocated by Congress, the National Employment Law Project estimated last week that 450,000 Americans will lose all compensation on Jan. 1, 2010, with another 600,000 running out of extended coverage during that month.
The NELP said more than 9 million people are receiving unemployment compensation, â€” 5 million of those from state programs and another 4 million-plus from the federal extensions.
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