Jobless Benefits Cut For 230,000 People This Week

More than 230,000 people in eight states watched this week as their unemployment benefits were cut following new laws enacted by the federal government in February.

Under the governments new rules jobless benefits were cut from 99 weeks to 79 weeks as federal protection for the unemployed was slashed as a money saving measure.

The latest unemployment benefit losses from from eight states where unemployment is already sky high including – California (11%), Texas (7%) Pennsylvania (7.5%), Florida (9%), Illinois (8.8%) North Carolina (9.7%) Colorado (7.8%) and Connecticut (7.7%). The national unemployment average is currently 8.1%.

While the national unemployment rate average has dropped from 9.1 percent in August 2011 to 8.1 percent today, experts warn that cuts to federal unemployment benefits programs are occurring at a faster rate than unemployment is dropping.

The biggest issue comes from states with historically high unemployment rates such as Rhode Island where rates have reached 11.1% and Nevada where rates are 12%. According to recent estimates the reduction to 79 weeks will mean more than 100,000 people in California will lose their government protected income.

Adding to the rate will be seven other states who are set to lose their extra federally guaranteed unemployment benefits by the end of September.

House Democrats attempted to keep rates at 99 weeks, especially in states hit hardest by unemployment numbers but they ultimately lost that fight as House Republicans argued that the program discouraged people from actively seeking new jobs.

A recent study by the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative found that 29.5 percent of the unemployed during the first three months of 2012 have been out of work for a year or more, that equals nearly 3.9 million people.

The study also reveals that in 2010 nearly 66 percent of jobless workers qualified for state or federal benefits, while that number has fallen to 54 percent in 2012.

In the meantime the poverty rate has increased from 13 percent to 18 percent for working-age adults.

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