Currently, 5.6 million people are accessing one of the federal extensions (34-53 weeks of Emergency Unemployment Compensation; 13-20 weeks of Extended Benefits, a program normally funded 50 percent by the states).
The plan had been to pass a 30 day extension, and then pass a 2nd bill in March to extend benefits for a year. Now apparently the plan is to pass the larger bill this week. If Congress acts quickly, the impact on the unemployed will be minimal because the benefits will be retroactive to March 1st.
The long term unemployment issue isn't going away any time soon. The following graph is based on the January employment report and shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more ...
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