June 3, 2008 – Ignoring a veto threat from the Bush administration, the Senate last week voted overwhelmingly to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. More than 200,000 workers a month exhaust their unemployment benefits and roughly 3.5 million workers will lose their unemployment insurance this year.
With many workers struggling to find jobs, the extension offers much needed support. A report released by the National Employment Law Project found the Unemployment Insurance funds of several states are not solvent enough to weather a recession. The report, Unemployment Insurance Financing: Examining State Trust Funds Facing Recession, found current state UI reserves are only about half the levels recommended prior to a recession. In fact, the report says Michigan, Missouri, New York and Ohio, which have been hit hard by the decline in manufacturing jobs, could have trouble meeting the need for UI benefits as early as this year.