Louisiana Jobless Left Out in the Cold

Posted by: Tim Mathis

A recent letter to Senator Mary Landrieu, written by LBP Director Edward Ashworth, called for a long-term extension of federal emergency unemployment insurance benefits.

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that unemployment rose to 9.8 percent in November. This news does not bode well for more than eight million people across the country who will be affected by the expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program. In Louisiana, with an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent, EUC provides workers with an additional 34 weeks of benefits. This month, 10,754 people in Louisiana are at risk of losing their support.

The basic program is administered by states and provides assistance to certain unemployed workers for up to 26 weeks. Because of the impact of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, the federal EUC program extended unemployment benefits over the past two years for families still unable to find work. Not only does unemployment insurance help families pay for basic necessities such as housing, groceries, and transportation, it props up our struggling economy by preserving jobs. In fact, a recent Congressional report estimated that prematurely ending EUC would suck $80 million in purchasing power from the economy and cause one million workers to lose their jobs next year. Our leaders in Congress are forcing families to shoulder greater hardship and uncertainty – just in time for the holidays.

They include details about safety-net programs like Medicaid, tax credits for low-income workers and educational scholarships and help promote a better understanding of how safety-net programs affect different communities across our state.
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