Nearly 155,000 unemployed Californians are expected to run out of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits by the end of the year, but some relief may be at hand: A fourth extension of UI benefits is pending before Congress. A bill was introduced in the US Senate yesterday that would provide 20 additional weeks of UI to the unemployed in states with high jobless rates such as California. Workers are currently eligible for up to 79 weeks of UI benefits, but for thousands of families, that’s not nearly enough. A record three out of 10 unemployed Californians (29.9 percent) have been out of work for more than half a year. And that’s not likely to change any time soon given the relatively meager number of jobs available. New data released today show that, nationally, there were more than six job seekers for every job opening in August – up slightly from July and more than double the number a year ago. With jobs so hard to come by, California’s unemployed desperately need additional weeks of UI benefits to help them make ends meet until the labor market improves.
— Vicky Lovell and Alissa Anderson