Patch Readers React to End of Federal Unemployment Program

The program was instituted during the Bush administration, extended unemployment insurance benefits for millions of unemployed Americans.

photo: Patch.com
photo: Patch.com

Did you lose your federal unemployment benefits?  According to Bloomberg.com 1.3 million Americans lost federal unemployment benefits on December 28 when Congress chose not to extend the program that was started during the Bush administration. 

The California unemployment rate in November 2013 was 8.3 percent according to the state’s Economic Development Department.  The California unemployment rate is lagging behind the national rate which was 6.6 percent for the same period.   Alameda and Contra Costa Counties both had rates of 6.8 percent in November 2013.

We posted the following on Patch Facebook pages in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties: The Federal Government's extended unemployment benefits program is expired on December 28. An article in Bloomberg says 220,000 Californians will be affected. The article also states that in October 11.3 million people were vying for 3.9 million jobs. What do you think? Should the Federal Government extend the program? Are you unemployed and losing the benefit? How will it affect your family? Are you an employer looking for workers? Are you having a problem finding qualified applicants?

Here are some of the comments we got from readers.

Livermore reader Michael Ford had some good news for anyone who is experienced with Linux.  He wrote, “I'm having a hard time filling positions for mid level to senior level Linux software developers.”

Another Livermore reader, Patricia Clark spoke for many when she wrote, “Unfortunately I know some people who haven't even tried to find work because they had this money coming in.
I feel for those who really do want to work and can't find something that will sustain them.
It's a hard call.

Wendy Spinale-Smith of Pleasanton had great news for gamers with a drivers license.  Here is the “Help Wanted” ad she posted on the Pleasanton Patch Facebook page, “Gametruck is a self-contained, mobile video gaming theater. We cater to kids and adults of all ages. We are in need of 2 drivers/coaches. Must be at least 21 years old, have a clean driving record, and pass a background check. Must enjoy working with kids. Experience driving trailers and knowledge of the current gaming consoles a plus, but not necessary. We are willing to train potential employees. Veterans are encouraged to apply. Contact us a pleasantongt@gmail.net.”

Pinole-Hercules reader Michaela Graham encouraged people to try new professions and be willing to take a pay cut in order to work. “Unemployment benefits are meant to be a temporary benefit. A transition. I think that too many people are not willing to change their profession and take other work that they deem 'beneath' them. You can't support people forever. I believe that there's work out there. I've created my own businesses for years and if something ends, I'll just start something new,” she wrote.

Alameda Patch reader Josh Kirby thinks the benefits will come back after the new year.   “They will extend the program. They do this every year. At this time, having cut everyone off, now they claim the unemployment rate has dropped. Much the same way they don’t really report stats on the unemployed who don’t get, or have run out of benefits.”

Kirby may be right.  According to the Bloomberg article Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said reinstating the benefit would be the first issue taken up by the Senate in 2014.  Reid represents Nevada where the unemployment rate is 9 percent.

During the worst of the economic downturn Congress authorized an additional 73 weeks of unemployment insurance for those who lost their jobs.  That benefit was tacked onto the 26 weeks of unemployment benefits California residents were entitled to receive. 

Tell us what you think in the comments section.



Tom Gordon January 01, 2014 at 02:30 PM
I'm sure it will be reinstated, but does it have to be all or nothing? Why not reduce the benefit from $400/week to $300 to $200, or $100 less every 26 weeks.


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