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1.3 million people lose unemployment benefits today

By Amy Taxin & Christopher S. Rugaber

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:12 a.m. HST, Dec 28, 2013


WESTMINSTER, Calif. » The end of unemployment checks for more than a million people today is driving out-of-work Americans to consider selling cars, moving and taking minimum wage work after already slashing household budgets and pawning personal possessions to make ends meet.

Greg and Barbara Chastain of Huntington Beach, Calif., put their two teenagers on the school lunch program and cut back on dining out after losing their T-shirt company in June following a dispute with an investor. They've exhausted their state unemployment benefits and now that the federal extensions are gone, unless they find jobs the couple plans take their children out of their high school in January and relocate 50 miles east where a relative owns property so they can save on rent

"We could let one of our cars go, but then you can't get to work — it's a never-ending cycle," 43-year-old Greg Chastain said while accompanying his wife to an Orange County employment center. He said they eventually may try their luck in a less expensive state like Arizona or Texas if he can land a manufacturing job there.

The end to the five-year program that extended benefits for the long-term jobless affected 1.3 million people immediately and will affect hundreds of thousands more who remain jobless in the months ahead. Under the program, the federal government provided an average monthly stipend of $1,166.

While the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress want to continue the program, the extensions were dropped from a budget deal struck earlier this month and Republican lawmakers have balked at its $26 billion annual cost.

The end of the program may prompt a drop in the nation's unemployment rate, but not necessarily for a good reason. People out of work are required to look for work to receive unemployment benefits. As benefits disappear, some jobless will stop looking for work out of frustration and will no longer be counted as unemployed.

The trend has already emerged in North Carolina, which started cutting off extended benefits in July. The state's unemployment rate went down — from 8.8 percent in June to 7.4 percent in November — even though the number of North Carolinians who said they had jobs rose only slightly in that time.

The North Carolina evidence is consistent with the theory that ending benefits will cause some unemployed to drop out of the workforce, said Michael Feroli, an economist at JP Morgan Chase.

That's what Fed chairman Ben Bernanke meant when he said this month that the end of extended benefits "will bring the unemployment rate down, but for ... the wrong reason."

Some unemployed people said the loss of benefits might drive them to take minimum wage jobs to get by until they can find work at their skill level and in their field.

Richard Mattos, 59, of Salem, Ore., has been out of work since March, when he was laid off as a case manager at a social services organization. Without the unemployment income, Mattos said he and his wife will have enough money for one month's worth of bills. Almost every day, he visits employment centers run by the state of Oregon or Goodwill Industries International.

"I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "We could end up homeless because of this."

Since 2008, the federal program paid out benefits to the unemployed after their 26 weeks of state benefits ran out. At its peak, the program offered up to 73 weeks of federal benefits — which are typically offered during periods of high unemployment — to the long-term jobless.

James Sherk, a labor policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said ending the extensions could induce workers to take jobs they might have overlooked initially. Extended unemployment benefits can give workers "a false sense of how much time they have before they have to start broadening their net to less than ideal positions," he said, adding that the labor market, while not ideal, is stronger and continues to improve.

In November, the country's unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 7 percent, but is still above the 5 percent to 6 percent rate that would signal a normal job market. And long-term unemployment remains a problem for the economy as nearly 4.1 million Americans have been out of work for six months or more.

Deborah Barrett, a 57-year-old resident of Newport, R.I., is one of them. She was laid off from her management job in accounting in February and has sent out hundreds of resumes since. She said doesn't know how she'll get by without the federal assistance.

"It's petrifying," she said. "Unfortunately, I don't believe my story is very unique."

Laura Garay, 57, pawned her jewelry, withdrew retirement funds and relied on support from friends after losing her paralegal job in May, the same month she was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Her monthly $1,700 in unemployment covers her house payment in Westminster and the cost of maintaining her health insurance to cover a barrage of exams and radiation therapy.

Garay said her illness set back her job search, but as long as she's healthy, she'll work at just about anything to get back on her feet and avoid being jobless for too long.

"You don't find a job in two weeks, you don't find a job in three weeks," she said. "You find a job after months of searching."

Rugaber reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper in Salem, Ore. and Erika Niedowski in Providence, R.I. contributed to this report.







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entrkn wrote:
... and the 1% get even richer
on December 28,2013 | 10:42AM
serious wrote:
People who work get richer. Ever run a company and someone either calls or comes to the door looking for work in an area that doesn't exist and they take your name and number--I am talking about 6-7 people. Then they can say to the unemployment people they came to my office and No Job! It's a ripoff and they all vote D's. Germany found, when they took people off unemployment, they suddenly found jobs.
on December 28,2013 | 12:38PM
false wrote:
Who u talking about? of course, I am wondering why there is a cap on Social Security Taxes. Is it because those making over a certain amount do not qualify for Social Security? Oh the topic is Unemployment. Oh well.
on December 28,2013 | 04:14PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
President Obama, pls get your foot of the American economy gas pedal so we can begin to create jobs. I believe your green energy and EPA plans is a huge failure and it was not ready for implementation in the United States. Let the Keystone pipeline and other major job creators loose to rebuild the middle class in America. You have been stepping to the breaks to aid your professor friends and have just about destroyed the middle class. American trust is almost zero with you at the helm. Change course now. Next year will be too late.
on December 28,2013 | 11:13AM
DAGR81 wrote:
His EGO is the barrier to changes that work.
on December 28,2013 | 11:27AM
false wrote:
Change that we CANNOT believe in.
on December 28,2013 | 01:10PM
RichardCory wrote:
Yes, I'm sure Obama is reading your comment. I'm also sure he'll appreciate the fine analysis you've provided in your elaborate economic analysis. Well done. Keep it up and you'll be on the fast track to getting the next Presidential Medal of Freedom.
on December 28,2013 | 12:08PM
false wrote:
Soon he will give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to EVERY American that voted for him in 2012. Then again, THAT can't happen so he will give it to himself before he is required to leave office.
on December 28,2013 | 12:23PM
false wrote:
Or. Maybe he will convince Michelle to run for POTUS in 2016, so that Michelle will award Barack the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
on December 28,2013 | 12:25PM
false wrote:
Its the brake that he is pressing on, not the gas pedal.
on December 28,2013 | 12:21PM
GoldenRule wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 28,2013 | 11:33AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
Maybe now people will become desperate enough to take ANY job, This is at least on a temporary basis, until a job that matches their skill and experience arises.
on December 28,2013 | 12:24PM
false wrote:
Yes so that employees that are needed in certain sectors, such as Health Care, fill up. Don't forget we need many more employees to fix our dilapidated roads, so unemployed construction employees could apply to Grace Pacific for temporary jobs. Dough is dough and need to be creative. We need miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of roads to be repaved. Any job creates taxation possibility and in Hawaii creates possibility for Health Care insurance mandate by employers, that was here LONG BEFORE BARRY was elected.
on December 28,2013 | 12:36PM
false wrote:
Its happening here in Hawaii, notice the 89 year old man nearly run over by the 24 year old lady, the 62 year old man murdered by the four teens in the McCully area (near Punahou Schools in fact), the violence on Keeaumoku Street, all areas that are miles away from West Oahu. This is happening on the fringes of East Oahu, once the haven for The Privileged.
on December 28,2013 | 01:13PM
JohnD2 wrote:
Working for a living is not "getting desperate," at least for most of us.
on December 28,2013 | 08:48PM
false wrote:
Let me see, you're saying "count" the people that drop out of the work force when you take away benefits, to make your point. Then "don't count" them when you try and say that unemployment is going down? is anyone that stupid?
on December 28,2013 | 11:34AM
false wrote:
This was not me, its my long lost cousin.
on December 28,2013 | 12:37PM
false wrote:
I didn't even comment. At least three "falses" at last count. No true????
on December 28,2013 | 01:58PM
false wrote:
No trues or neutrals. Only false people lol. So there are at least three of us.
on December 28,2013 | 04:16PM
false wrote:
As for thee 1%ers getting richer, this is true. african americans getting poorer, that is true. Who's policies? Who ran detroit? What's the definition of insanity?
on December 28,2013 | 11:41AM
false wrote:
Posting your comments, to answer your last question.
on December 28,2013 | 12:37PM
opihi123 wrote:
just keep on letting illegal immigrants come on in.. that will really help people looking for jobs. know you guys want the votes, but you are selling us out. back up the middle class, stop trying to cater to people who don't want to work.. its about time this was cut back. we need someone who believes in America. not socialism.
on December 28,2013 | 12:04PM
false wrote:
In Hawaii, we have the Micronesian phenomenon. Neil, get a spine and act.
on December 28,2013 | 12:39PM
false wrote:
Speaking of which, u guys in The State try to get away with the EASY solutions, such as blocking the roads at Laniakea and banning the Haleiwa Markets.

Try to compromise Neil instead of AN OUT AN OUT COMPLETE BAN LOL !!! This is Hawaii, not New York.


on December 28,2013 | 12:41PM
50skane wrote:
Abercrtombie is a bleeding liberal and believes that big, big government should run everything and take care of everyone. You know he is collecting two pensions right now,. One from the feds since he was a congressman and one from our Hawaii state since he served as a politician here up until he went to Washington. You think anyone is forcing him to take his State pension. Of course not, he is a double dipper and has the nerve to complain about people who milk the system!
on December 28,2013 | 12:58PM
false wrote:
Neil please read this comment.
on December 28,2013 | 01:15PM
false wrote:
Government needs to be big enough to control those that are on the fringes of the law, such as illegal insider trading on Wall Street, the weed growers, the terrorists that populate the Earth (I give complete credit to BHO of ridding Osama), etc. Note also that even though Presidents are in parties (Democrats or Republicans, and not pau hana parties), all Presidents are required to pass on to the next President, extreme top secrets that only Presidents would know. I seen this on a documentary on the history channel, that showed a manila envelope on the oval office desk, "from No. 43 to No. 44". Nobody and nobody knows stuff that Barack Obama knows, except maybe the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Military. From that standpoint, President Obama needs to be respected to the utmost. However the nation's economy could use improvement, and although the Stock Market moving up this year, an indication of "acceptance" of the economic recovery, the halo that BHO shows in public, taking luxurious Vacations in Hawaii for example, and probably not locating his Presidential Library on The Punahou Schools, all indicate a sense of privilege that is not acceptable to the Average American.
on December 28,2013 | 01:24PM
false wrote:
That"s good news. Unemployment benefits are too generous and cause the unemployed to stop looking for work. Why work when you can survive by doing nothing? The greatest generation had it bad during the depression but were ashamed to ask for a handout. Today, there are too many bums and loafers asking for a free ride.
on December 28,2013 | 02:11PM
false wrote:
10-4 Tom
on December 28,2013 | 03:35PM
false wrote:
Oh ok, then i am false A, u r false B, and the other guy is false C.
on December 28,2013 | 03:50PM
false wrote:
If u r old enough, u would be in love with the 1960s television series Batman, u know, da da da da da da da Batmaaaaannn (In Color). They had a recurring criminal named False Face (and their budget made the mask he wore look childish compared to today's wardrobe designers). Of course I liked Frank Gorshin as The Riddler, Cesar Romero as The Joker, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, What's his name as King Tut and Julie (what's her last name) as The Catwoman. I really didn't like Lee Meriweather as The Catwoman nor the other woman as The Catwoman.
on December 28,2013 | 03:52PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I think you're all False, as in BS falsecrack
on December 28,2013 | 09:01PM
false wrote:
Well what a hypocritical bunch: they show for example in today's sports section on the bottom of the last page, an ad with DVDs from an adullltlt video company. WHAT DAMMMN HYPOCRITES ???!!! Only in the business of making bucks, and banning people from talking, yet showing raunchy ads, both in their paper and more so in this web site.
on December 28,2013 | 03:56PM
false wrote:
I believe
on December 28,2013 | 03:58PM
false wrote:
big brother
on December 28,2013 | 03:58PM
false wrote:
is watching over us
on December 28,2013 | 03:59PM
false wrote:
so don't cheat on your unemployment compensation !!
on December 28,2013 | 04:00PM
false wrote:
Well return to sender if u did not accept it.
on December 28,2013 | 04:01PM
false wrote:
Just ban me from this site NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on December 28,2013 | 04:02PM
false wrote:
This is Tom Berg signing off along with Ben Cayetano..
on December 28,2013 | 04:03PM
false wrote:
What do Ben Cayetano and I have in common?
on December 28,2013 | 04:07PM
false wrote:
Temper, and although Ben is a very public person and I am not, I respect Ben as I think he is a real genuine human with feelings and one who stands up for the little person, although Ben has made it big.
on December 28,2013 | 04:08PM
false wrote:
Richard Mattos, 59, of Salem, Ore., has been out of work since March, when he was laid off as a case manager at a social services organization. Without the unemployment income, Mattos said he and his wife will have enough money for one month's worth of bills. Almost every day, he visits employment centers run by the state of Oregon or Goodwill Industries International.

"I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "We could end up homeless because of this."

How much can u make by working as a manager at say McDonald's? More than your unemployment compensation? If yes, then go for it.


on December 28,2013 | 05:00PM
false wrote:
Richard Mattos, 59, of Salem, Ore., has been out of work since March, when he was laid off as a case manager at a social services organization. Without the unemployment income, Mattos said he and his wife will have enough money for one month's worth of bills. Almost every day, he visits employment centers run by the state of Oregon or Goodwill Industries International.

"I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "We could end up homeless because of this."

How much can u make by working as a manager at say McDonald's? More than your unemployment compensation? If yes, then go for it.


on December 28,2013 | 05:00PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
false goes on and on and on.
on December 28,2013 | 08:39PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
When my wife goes on a rant, my kids and I plead "Enough already"!!!
on December 28,2013 | 08:55PM
JohnD2 wrote:
This is great news! Now people will take care of themselves and be free of government! Some lazy bums will cry a lot, but other people will start new businesses and prosper. That is what America is all about!
on December 28,2013 | 08:46PM
false wrote:
The real "false" agrees with you.
on December 28,2013 | 09:00PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
73 weeks of free money? That's just crazy, these people have become dependent on free taxpayer money and are saying "I don't know what we're going to do". Get a job, any job ... even a ft job at McDonald's will earn you what you're getting for free now from unemployment insurance. If after 73 weeks you still haven't found a job, I doubt any extension would fix you're problem.
on December 28,2013 | 08:55PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
At this point, if my wife and I lost our jobs and never worked again, we could trim some fat and survive forever. If we lost our jobs 10 years ago and never worked again, we would've had to sell the house and rent.until Social Security kicked in. If we'd become unemployed 20 years ago, money would've been REAL tight, but we would've made it.Jobs were plentiful back then.
on December 28,2013 | 09:33PM
sailfish1 wrote:
As long as you keep giving the unemployed free money, they will stay unemployed. 26 73 weeks of unemployment benefits is way too much to give to the lazy, incompetent, and inflexible people who are unemployed.
on December 28,2013 | 09:52PM
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