As Unemployment Rate Drops, Extended Benefits Get Cut

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s economy is bouncing back as it added nearly 8,000 jobs in January.

As a result, the state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent, which is considerably lower than the national average of 8.5 percent.

Rick Caligiuri, the director of Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance, says Minnesota has the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the nation. But he is concerned about those still without jobs, because the federal government’s extended benefits program has been cut.

That program gets cut off when a state’s unemployment rate dips below 6.5 percent.

Minnesota’s standard unemployment benefits run 26 weeks, Rick Caligiuri said. When that runs out, those who qualify can receive an additional 47 weeks through a federal program called Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation. When that money is also exhausted, there is another 13 weeks of benefits, and this is the program that 5,000 Minnesotans no longer qualify for.

James McConico, who has been unemployed since July and he hopes something happens to keep that safety net in place for himself and others constantly looking for work.

“I don’t look forward to them cutting off the benefits,” McConico said. “But hopefully something will come up or they find funds to help people out.”

Additional cuts to benefits may come to 8,000 Minnesotans soon if Congress does not extend federal benefits beyond next month.

More from Reg Chapman
  • Smoke that weed, dude

    Does this mean that the umemployed will no longer be able to buy flat screen tv’s amd drive their googy looking care that are jscked up over a foot? Gosh I feel sorry for the 10% that actually work there hind off….The other 90% can live off someone else

    • Swamp Rat

      If you are working be glad about it! We all can’t be infinitely wealthy like you and drink the high-test kool aid you drink.

      Get a life! See the real folks who want to work but there are no jobs. If you are not working maybe you should run for the Legislature and get an easy paycheck for doing nothing. Then, tell me who drives those supposed jacked-up cars and buys those flat screen TVs you obviously wish you had. Get a life, chum!

  • Brett

    Yeah, shave your head so a future employer can’t take a hair sample to see what kindS of DOPE you’ve been doing while on unemployment. The work is out there. Maybe it isn’t your dream job, or maybe it doesn’t pay what you think it should, but while you have been on the PC all day lobbying your favorite politicians for ANOTHER EXTENSION, not only are you receiving tons of bennies, you aren’t paying very much BACK IN. That has to change, and I can’t think of a better time then NOW. You have had your gov’t paid VACATION, now it’s time to GO TO WORK.

  • Jesse Walters

    correction 3.6 million X 5 years 18 million plus 7 existing = 23 million.

    • Swamp Rat

      What’s this? It’s obvious it’s not jobs!

  • ann

    About time they ended the extended benefits, the jobs are out there now, get off your butts and start looking for them-or do you expect them to come to you, like your goverment check the last 3 years.

    • Ace

      I was there and I agree with you. You have to put in a big effort and not expect the government to pay you to sit around the house

    • Swamp Rat

      As I told Weedy previously, you too should get a life! How can you work when there are no REAL jobs out there? Don’t believe all the BS number crunching you have been reading or hearing lately. Job stats can be spun away which way you want. If you are working I am happy for you but if you are not your bitterness shows.

      Real out-of-work people are struggling to live and provide for their families and themselves. Everyday people are losing their homes and their self-esteems due to a messed up economy. It is easy for some well-off people to pontificate how good life is when just down another neighbor disappears in the ethereal economic turmoil of ignominy and grief.

      Don’t tell me to get off my butt and start looking for work. I have been doing just that for a long time and the competition for those, supposedly new, living wage jobs is fierce! So unless you have walked in my shoes and experienced my travails don’t pontificate to me or the thousands of others who are struggling to stay alive &/or providing for their families!

      I started this commentary with “Get a Life!”. I should say why are you so angry at the world? Is it because you are out of work also? Think about it!

  • Formerly Unemployed

    I hope none of you are ever in need of unemployment. When you live in a community that has dispensed with 900 production jobs and you are in competition for jobs, there are 899 other people competing for the same job. Not so easy to find a job…ANY job. But live on with your misconceptions…and hope you never need help. It might not be so funny then.

    • Swamp Rat

      Right On! Someone who makes sense to these constant ersatz naysayers! Truer words were never spoken as such to those who think the unemployed are shirkers and lazy folks. Glad to see you made it back working.

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