Jobless Workers Get a Little Help for the Holidays

President Obama approved nearly five more months of unemployment benefits for many of the nation’s jobless workers this morning, bringing combined state and federal unemployment benefits to 99 weeks in high-unemployment states such as California. This additional help comes as the national unemployment rate climbed to 10.2 percent in October, a 26-year record. California’s unemployment rate was 12.2 percent in September, the most recent month for which data are available.

The extended benefits will help nearly 155,000 unemployed Californians who were expected to run out of unemployment benefits by the end of 2009.

The extra unemployment benefits are Congress’ fourth effort to help families deal with a recession that’s setting records for how long it takes workers to find new jobs. In California, three out of 10 jobless workers have been out of work for more than six months, and more fall into the ranks of the long-term unemployed each month as the recession drags on.

— Vicky Lovell

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