Support Marketplace

Application for unemployment benefits

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: They managed to finish up the financial overhaul bill alright, but Congress let an extension of unemployment benefits die last night. A Republican filibuster in the Senate took care of it. At least 1.2 million people have lost their unemployment checks since the program expired June 2.

Brett Neely reports that may be bad news for an already shaky economy.


Brett Neely: The emergency unemployment benefits weren't generous, says Maurice Emsellem at the National Employment Law Project.

Maurice Emsellem: Folks who have been unemployed for close to a year in many cases, they are not living large on $310 a week, I can guarantee you that.

But those modest payments have a big impact on the larger economy, says Heidi Shierholz. She's a labor economist at Economic Policy Institute.

Heidi Shierholz: It's also really good stimulus.

That's because of how unemployment insurance works.

Shierholz: Those are people who are the most likely to have no choice but to spend it immediately in their local economies.

200,000 unemployed Americans are now losing their benefits every week, which means they're cutting back on food, gas and other necessities.

Shierholz: It actually will add to the unemployment rate to reduce the benefits to the long-term unemployed.

Economists predict that economic growth will start to slow because unemployment payments haven't been renewed.

In Washington, I'm Brett Neely for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.