New Analysis Shows Every County Would Take a Hit from the End of Federal Unemployment Benefits
If Congress does not act, jobless workers in every Wisconsin county will miss out on federal support targeted at helping individuals who have been searching for a job for a long time, according to a new analysis from the Wisconsin Budget Project.
At the end of the year, federal unemployment benefits are slated to end. The result is that 99,000 unemployed Wisconsin residents will lose an estimated $361 million in assistance in 2014.
Today’s new Wisconsin Budget Project analysis shows the economic downside to ending federal unemployment benefits, with estimates that describe how jobless workers in each county would be affected. Here are some examples:
- In Milwaukee County alone, nearly 26,000 individuals who have been searching for a long time will miss out on $93.8 million worth of assistance for the long-term unemployed, unless Congress acts;
- In Marathon County, 2,800 individuals will miss out on $10.1 million in assistance; and
- In Fond du Lac County, 1,500 workers will lose out on $5.4 million in assistance.
Much of federal assistance for the long-term unemployed is spent right away at local businesses on necessities. If federal unemployment benefits are eliminated, businesses will have a harder time finding customers with money to spend.
It’s not too late. Congress can still re-authorize the federal unemployment benefits program and then allow it to phase down gradually as the economy improves. Doing so would help Wisconsin families and the Wisconsin economy.
The following graph illustrates that spending for federal extended benefits has been declining in Wisconsin as the economy has gradually improved. The significant reduction in spending over the past few years has been driven by a slowly shrinking share of the population that is eligible for this economic lifeline, and by the criteria in the law that reduce the maximum number of weeks of benefits in a state as the unemployment rate falls in that state.
Rather than abruptly terminating federal benefits while the long-term rate is so high, Congress should allow the program to continue to phase down.
Click here to read more about how jobless workers will be affected in each Wisconsin county.