More than 230,000 people stopped being eligible for unemployment insurance benefits over the weekend—not because they got jobs, but because the emergency extended benefits program providing their benefits was cut as part of the payroll tax deal earlier this year. The number of weeks of benefits available in states drop as unemployment drops, which hit California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas on Saturday.
While "as unemployment drops" may make this sound like good news, consider that California, where 100,000 jobless people will no longer be getting unemployment insurance, has an unemployment rate of 11 percent. Nationally, more than 5 million people have been unemployed for six months or longer, and there are 3.4 job-seekers for every job opening.
That makes things especially hard for people like Jennifer Moss, a divorced mother of three who has been unemployed since October 2010:
Since losing her job, Moss said she’s applied for countless jobs and had maybe 10 job interviews, but nothing has worked out.Living in South Carolina, her last unemployment payment was May 1. A federal mortgage benefit she receives will expire this summer. South Carolina's unemployment rate is 8.9 percent.
“There are many sleepless nights where at 2 or 3 in the morning I might be on a website ... applying for jobs,” said Moss, who is 40.
Now multiply her story by 409,000, the number of people to lose unemployment benefits since Congress struck its deal, and think too about all the businesses at which those 409,000 people are no longer spending their money.