Blumenthal Calls for Extension of Unemployment Benefits as Deadline Approaches

(Hartford, CT) –Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today called on Congress to pass an extension of unemployment insurance and outlined the serious consequences for thousands of families in Connecticut if Congress fails to address this program that is due to expire at the end of 2011. Blumenthal was joined by Connecticut job seekers, workforce officials, and state Department of Labor officials at a New Britain CT Works facility.

This is a looming catastrophe that will happen in Connecticut if the Congress of the United States fails to extend unemployment insurance,” said Blumenthal in New Britain. “It’s not a handout; it’s insurance. It is a basic means – about $300 a week – for people to sustain themselves and their families and it is smart – not just right, but smart – for Congress to extend it because the failure to extend this unemployment insurance program will have devastating ripple effects throughout the economy.”

Authorization for the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program and full federal funding of the Extended Benefits (EB) program will expire on December 31, 2011 – causing benefits to run out for thousands of families and individuals. In Connecticut, there are 102,000 individuals receiving unemployment insurance. Between January and February of next year, more than 23,200 individuals in Connecticut will lose unemployment insurance if Congress does not pass an extension. Since the 1950s, such federal programs have never been terminated when the unemployment rate was above 7.2 percent.

Recently released Census figures show that the 2010 federal extension of unemployment insurance prevented 3.2 million people (including nearly one million children) from falling into poverty. Were it not for such an extension, the number of those entering poverty would have more than doubled in 2010.

According to the Center for American Progress:

  • 2.2 million: The number of job-seekers who will lose benefits if Congress fails to extend emergency unemployment insurance.
  • 3.2 million: Number of Americans pulled out of poverty in 2010 thanks to unemployment benefits.       
  • $296: Average weekly benefit paid to unemployed workers in 2012.
  • 700,000+: Number of new jobs created thanks to emergency and extended unemployment benefits in recent years.
  • 4: Approximate number of workers actively job-hunting for every position available.
  • $1.52: Amount of economic growth generated by every dollar spent on unemployment benefits.