Saturday, January 30, 2010

11.5 Million Americans Are Receiving Jobless Benefits

First-time claims for state unemployment benefits remained elevated in the latest week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The number of initial claims in the week ending Jan. 23 fell 8,000 to 470,000. The consensus forecast of Wall Street economists was for claims to drop below 450,000. Claims in the previous week were revised to an increase of 34,000 to 478,000 compared with the initial estimate of a increase of 36,000 to 482,000. the highest level since November. The four-week average of initial claims rose 9,500 to 456,250. A Labor Department official said there were no reports of backlogs at state offices. Meanwhile, the number of Americans receiving state jobless benefits held steady fell 57,000 to 4.60 million in the week ending Jan 16. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell 94,250 to 4.7 million. Overall, 11.5 million Americans received federal and state unemployment benefits on an unadjusted basis in the week ended Jan. 9, the latest period for which the data is available. This is down from 12.0 million in the prior week.

Congress, Extend Unemployment Benefits Now!

The National Employment Law Project is urging Congress to continue the extended unemployment benefits program, including full federal funding of Extended Benefits, the $25 per week in Federal Additional Compensation, and the 65% 15-month COBRA subsidy through the end of 2010. Action is needed now because the current unemployment extensions are set to expire at the end of February. Here's how to send a message to Congress ask them to extend benefits for workers who are going to run out: