Forty million people benefited from extended unemployment benefits programs put in place to fight the recession that started in December 2007, according to a White House report released Thursday.
Fourteen million people laid off through no fault of their own received benefits under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs that Congress allowed to lapse this week, and the White House Council of Economic Advisors estimates that "an additional 26 million people living in their households benefited indirectly."
The programs provide up to 73 weeks of federally-funded benefits for layoff victims who exhaust the standard 26 weeks provided by states. The average benefit is roughly $300.
About 42 percent of people receiving EUC or EB have or live with children, according to the Council. That means that as of October, more than 10 million children benefited from the programs, and three million children lived in households where the benefits recipient was the sole wage-earner.
Additionally, the Council reported that the economy had 800,000 more jobs and had grown 0.8 percent faster in September than would have been the case without the programs.
The report puts additional pressure on Congress to reauthorize the benefits. The Labor Department estimates that two million people who've been out of work for longer than six months will lose their benefits by the end of December. Within a week, 800,000 jobless workers face a "hard cutoff" from EB.
With a yearlong reauthorization of the programs facing nearly insurmountable opposition in the Senate, it's likely that a deal attaching the programs to a reauthorization of also-expiring tax cuts for the rich is the only way to prevent what the Council estimates would be a 0.6 percent drop in economic growth in December 2011.
Even with a reauthorization, the Council estimates that roughly four million people will run out of benefits by next December -- about 6.7 million fewer than without an extension. There is legislation in both chambers of Congress to give exhaustees in the hardest-hit states additional weeks of benefits, but those bills have little chance of becoming law, especially given the difficulty of reauthorizing just the existing benefits.
Click HERE to download a PDF of the report.
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