Subscribe to Money Morning get daily headlines subscribe now! Money Morning Private Briefing today's private briefing Access Your Profit Alerts

3 Million Americans to Lose Unemployment Benefits in 2014


Today, 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers sit restlessly in Congress' palm. They will be left without federal unemployment benefits just three days after Christmas if Washington fails to rework the budget deal to extend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (EUC).

The EUC extends federal benefits to people who are unemployed when state benefits run out. Typically, states provide benefits to unemployed workers for up to six months. But during the 2008 subprime crisis, President George W. Bush established the EUC to stem the damage, as joblessness hit a peak of 10% in 2009.

Lawmakers have extended the program 11 times over the past five years. Some people have received benefits for 99 weeks, and the EUC has doled out $225 billion in benefits over its lifespan.  

But fresh signs of economic recovery, including the latest jobs report and now a U.S. Federal Reserve taper, finally point to the program's close. Government-reported analyses state that businesses have created almost 200,000 jobs total over the last four months, the economy grew faster than anticipated in the third quarter, and the majority of economists are forecasting stronger growth in 2014.

In light of this favorable data, Democrats agreed to cut the program during this month's negotiations over the federal budget. The budget deal builds in a $22 billion deficit reduction that cuts $85 billion over two years, while allowing a $63 billion increase in spending caps.

Were the EUC extended again, it would cost around $25.7 billion for one year, according to the Congressional Budget Office – and would thereby totally undermine the budget deal's savings.

And recent jobs numbers have made the long-term unemployed especially vulnerable to a benefits cut…

The Plight of the Long-Term Unemployed

There are 4.1 million people currently classified as long-term unemployed, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's 36.1% of the total unemployed.

To put that number in perspective, the population of long-term unemployed remains higher than in any time during the Great Recession that ended in 2009. It's over three times the percentage of long-term unemployed in 2007, which reached 17.5%.

November's jobs report showed unemployment at 7% – its lowest level since November 2008. Plus, the economy added 203,000 jobs.

But better numbers have actually wounded the long-term unemployed.

Here's why…

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. H. Craig Bradley | December 27, 2013


    Nobody really notices the plight of the unemployed except possibly family and relatives. Politicians only "care" if its in their immediate political interests to extend benefits. The urgency and need is much diminished after five years of economic recovery. Besides, there are plenty of other Federal entitlement programs such as Food Stamps (SNAP) for the low income population to supplement with their minimum wage jobs or whatever they can get (WTCG). Arguably, a permanent underclass of poor Americans is growing, along with their dependence on welfare and food stamps. This will reduce economic growth because " a mind is a terrible thing to waste"

  2. william arnott | December 28, 2013

    Take their pay away and see how they like it.

  3. Zodiak Paredes | December 28, 2013

    Minimal Wage:

    The conservative side seems to have gotten it wrong when it comes to minimum wage,if salaries would have gone up in the last twenty years to honestly reflect and match inflation we would not be having this discussion. The large corporations have gotten tax breaks and subsidies to help expand there businesses and the workers have been on the sidelines, left with scraps. CEO's of these large corporations are being paid millions of dollars as there websites direct there employees on how to apply for food stamps and government subsidies. If the companies that hire aren't willing to pay a livable wage we will all wind up paying through higher taxes in order to subsidize family's struggling to stay afloat. The gap between the rich in poor in this country is getting larger and I don't see why we need to sponsor corporate greed as Americans plunge beneath the poverty line.
    Zodiak Paredes

    • Robert in Vancouver | December 29, 2013

      Yes, let's tax corporations and high income earners 90%, print (a lot) more money every day, and make everyone totally dependent on government.

      That will make the USA into a left-wing utopia as there wouldn't be any companies left (good riddance) and no more of those greedy people who take financial risks and create jobs.

  4. Joy Smith | December 28, 2013

    People need there unemplo yment they will starve.

    • Redneck to The Core | December 30, 2013

      No ,, they need to go get a job even if it is min. wage

    • Quinshery | January 6, 2014

      That true to me, see those rich people in Congress would never see what black people have go though. They was born into money in a lot of people just voulteer just to see what people is mostly about? Some people do not care in I mostly seen that, in do not say anything accept to my love ones I really trust.

  5. Redneck to The Core | December 30, 2013

    If you cant find some kind of work in six months , some have had 99 weeks and now they want to extend it again,,, Well we know now why they cant find work in 6 months or 99 weeks and now need to extend it even longer,, why work ,,??? Dead beats are the one's that are causing this because if you were a real American you would be out there working at something and not depending on the government to support you lazy butt. By the way all the people working are supporting you because it is the working person's tax money that you are getting,, I should not have to work my butt off or anyone else to support dead beats.

    • Josepus | January 3, 2014

      Easy there. Calm down! Not everybody is as lucky as you are. All adults should be able to get some kind of social payment, especially those with children. There should be a minimum social payment. The US government prints 85 billion $ a month and it all goes to the rich in Wall Street. If Obama gets just 5% of this money and gives it to the poor and unemployed, there will be an uptake in trading. If every worker earning less than 50,000 got a tax cut of just 10% there would be more selling at the local stores and employment would increase.
      So, take care, pay your taxes and take a nap. Obama will fix everything for you and his mates on Wall Street.

  6. Gary | December 30, 2013

    Some body in DC better get off the pot real quick and create some jobs or build more prisons. Because people are going to do what it takes to survive and feed their family.the congress dose not care about us so lets remember these jokers in December when its time to vote.

  7. Quinshery | January 6, 2014

    I'm female from mobile,Alabama. I received food stamps, I been diagnose for anxiety which some times feel like a heart attack hate going to the doctors cause they do not have a lot of sense, I also been diagnosed for back problem in they still want give me my disability which is sooooo freaking wrong how can they really judge they have never walk in my shoes, sometimes I'm in the bed a lot sometimes its hard for people, I do not want to lose nothing I have, my kids means the most as well as most women, I even tries doing hair my hands cramp up in it b hurting but I keep the pain to myself, my might tell my kids to get me some meat out of the fridge, I'm on the policy-commuity action

  8. Lance | January 6, 2014

    Unlike food stamp and welfare recipients, many unemployment compensation recipients (all of which previously held jobs) are Republicans. If the news media shows one person saying: that he had always voted Republican but if the House leadership does not allow a vote on extension of unemployment benefits he will never vote for a Republican again, the Republicans will cave, as 1.3 million voters could be a critical in the next election.

    The joke used to be that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. The new version will be a Democrat is a Republican who had his unemployment benefits ended.

    "..It is not just a coincidence that tax cuts for the rich have preceded both the 1929 and 2007 depressions. The Revenue acts of 1926 and 1928 worked exactly as the Republican Congresses that pushed them through promised. The dramatic reductions in taxes on the upper income brackets and estates of the wealthy did indeed result in increased savings and investment. However, overinvestment (by 1929 there were over 600 automobile manufacturing companies in the USA) caused the depression that made the rich, and most everyone else, ultimately much poorer.

    Since 1969 there has been a tremendous shift in the tax burdens away from the rich and onto the middle class. Corporate income tax receipts, whose incidence falls entirely on the owners of corporations, were 4% of GDP then and are now less than 1%. During that same period, payroll tax rates as percent of GDP have increased dramatically. The overinvestment problem caused by the reduction in taxes on the wealthy is exacerbated by the increased tax burden on the middle class. While overinvestment creates more factories, housing and shopping centers; higher payroll taxes reduces the purchasing power of middle-class consumers…."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Some HTML is OK