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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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 74 312 10,190
MORTGAGES 103 400 13,275
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 16 76 2,614
BUILDING PERMITS 221 783 24,307
BANKRUPTCIES 72 299 9,832
BUSINESS LICENSES 39 110 3,713
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 129 519 14,482
MARRIAGE LICENSES 13 81 3,144

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