MIAMI ( – Unemployment in Miami-Dade County is 13.7 percent and the jobs to bring that rate down simply are not there. Now, the economy in South Florid and the nation could take a debilitating hit when government aid ends this year.

Over 180,000 workers in Miami-Dade County are looking for work. Many of them have survived thanks to extended unemployment benefits from both the state and the federal government. But, the extended unemployment benefits will end on December 31.

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Economists are worried that as the government income dries up, to the tune of roughly $37 billion across the nation, that “the lost income will further crimp consumer spending and act as a drag on a recovery that is still quite fragile,” according to the New York Times.

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According to the Times, the state of Florida has over 476,000 people are collecting unemployment benefits. At the same time, the state has added only 11,200 jobs in the last year. Combined with massive layoffs coming to state and local government and the unemployment problem will only be exacerbated.

The Labor Department said the average unemployed person has been out of work for just less than 40 weeks. Plus, Congress has passed unemployment extensions during every recession since the 1950’s. That will end in December, unless a new deal to extend the benefits is cut.

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But, with the government set to cut anywhere between $2 trillion and $4 trillion over the next decade, re-upping the benefits is not likely. What that does to the economy as a whole remains to be seen, but if private employers don’t start hiring, the economic recovery could doom the country for another few years.