As others see it: A welcome boostMinnesotans whose jobless benefits run out at the end of the year would see an extension under an agreement reached by Senate Democrats on Thursday.
By: Bemidji Pioneer, Worthington Daily Globe
Minnesotans whose jobless benefits run out at the end of the year would see an extension under an agreement reached by Senate Democrats on Thursday.
The move will allow unemployment insurance benefits to continue after Dec. 31 to 2 million jobless workers, changing the House-passed bill that would have extended benefits only to jobless workers in those states where the unemployment rate exceeded 8.5 percent.
Instead, the Senate agreement would extend benefits 14 weeks to jobless workers in all 50 states, and jobless in those states with the rate exceeding 8.5 percent would get an additional six weeks extension.
It’s a measure that U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL-Minn., and 17 other senators have been working on ever since Klobuchar discovered that Minnesota jobless would lose out as the state’s unemployment rate is at about 8 percent.
“Many Minnesotans are trying desperately to find a job and it is important that those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits continue to receive relief,” says Klobuchar.
While many economists believe the economy has started to turn around, increased employment always lags as companies wait for more solid proof of an improving economy before adding on new staff or recalling laid-off workers. Senate figures show that as of last month, 15 million jobless Americans were chasing 3 million jobs.
In that regard, unemployment benefits became an economic stimulus tool of its own, allowing jobless workers to continue to feed and clothe their families, and continue to pay the home mortgage.
In Minnesota, a cold-weather state, it would be especially cruel to end unemployment benefits as Minnesota reaches the darkest times of the winter.
Hopefully, when hiring resumes in earnest, the new tax revenue will more than make up for the federal funds spent now in extended unemployment benefits.