Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If being out of a job isn’t bad enough, Florida’s unemployed workers are about to get some more bad news.
According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, state officials said this week that 20 weeks of federal extended unemployment benefits will start to end next month. The loss will be on top of the three weeks of state unemployment benefits that disappeared in January.
The cuts are part of the fiscal cuts pushed through the Republican-controlled legislature and championed by conservatives in Florida and across the nation.
Part of the problem for those opposing the cuts is how the unemployment rates are calculated. The state’s unemployment rate must be over 10 percent for the long-term benefits to remain.
But, since the benefits are ending for many, they may or may not return to the workforce. If they do not, it drops the unemployment rate to a level that cuts off long-term funds. Thus, while the unemployment rate may remain low, the full unemployment rate, including those who have given up looking for work, those who have left the work force, and others, is much worse.
Florida’s unemployment checks have been in decline since peaking in 2009 during the heart of the Great Recession, according to the Herald.. Combined with federal programs, employment has been growing in Florida slowly, but surely.
Recipients of federal and state unemployment compensation dropped from 561,736 on January 31, 2011 to 345,052 as of the end of March, according to the Herald.