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VOL. 126 | NO. 244 | Thursday, December 15, 2011

Congress Weighing Length of Jobless Benefits

TOM RAUM | Associated Press

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress is looking at the downside of letting jobless people collect up to almost two years of unemployment benefits. While the benefits are a crucial lifeline for the long-term unemployed, economists worry they also can be a disincentive to looking for work and actually prolong joblessness.

Republicans have passed a bill in the House that would reduce maximum coverage time by 20 weeks. The current ceiling on federal and state benefits combined is 99 weeks, and Democrats want to keep it. The GOP plan coupled with recently declining unemployment rates would cut that ceiling to 59 weeks by summer.

If Congress does nothing by the end of the year, up to a million workers unemployed for at least six months could loses benefits in January.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 137 550 13,176
MORTGAGES 136 615 17,085
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 19 74 3,364
BUILDING PERMITS 223 924 28,618
BANKRUPTCIES 73 376 10,866
BUSINESS LICENSES 20 131 4,335
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 472 16,821
MARRIAGE LICENSES 30 130 3,821

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