After a week of debate, action in the nation's capital today means at least another two months of benefits for about 40,000 Washingtonians looking for work.
Because Congress voted to approve a two-month extension of "emergency unemployment compensation," the state Employment Security Department ended a phase-out of the program. It was set to expire Dec. 31.
In addition to the 40,000 unemployed workers in Washington state who were set to lose their benefits at the end of January, the two-month extension spared 20,000 more people who would have lost them by the end of February. Combined, that’s the equivalent of every adult in Yakima being spared a sudden loss of income in the next two months.
Unemployment benefits are regarded as an excellent economic stimulus, because people getting them need to spend them on basic needs like rent and food – sending the money directly back into the economy.
Earlier this week, the state announced that the number of people recieving unemployment benefits went down in 2011.