More than 1.3 million Americans without jobs for six months or more face an unemployment insurance cutoff at the end of December. As the impact continues to be felt from worst recession since the 1930s, Sen. Bernie Sanders joined 31 other senators who signed a letter urging Congress to preserve federal unemployment insurance for another year.
While the official 7 percent unemployment rate in November was the lowest in five years, long-term unemployment remained near record highs. Altogether some 4 million Americans, more than one-third of all those who are unemployed, have been jobless for six months or more.
The immediate threat affects about 1.3 million workers who would lose benefits if Congress lets an emergency program expire in the days after Christmas. Another 1.9 million would have their benefits cut later in the year. (Some 600 Vermonters face an immediate cutoff after Dec. 28, and 2,300 more Vermonters could lose benefits later in 2014, according to the National Employment Law Project.) A new study by the same group showed that federal unemployment insurance keeps workers in the job hunt and families out of poverty.