Newly released data from the Department of Labor shows that the country’s jobless claims are on the rise.
Over the past two weeks, initial claims increased to over 470,000. The jump in claims isn’t exactly news to most analysts, who expected as much since thousands of temporary Census jobs ended this month. But it does add another degree of scrutiny to Congress’s stalemate on the decision to extend jobless benefits to millions of workers whose insurance ran out last week. Now, over a million workers who’ve been unemployed for more than six months will have to wait until after the July 4 recess to find out if any relief is on the way. For weeks, efforts to extend benefits have stalled in both the House and the Senate amid fears that the $33 billion unemployment package is too costly.
While states typically offer benefits for up to 26 weeks, Congress enacted emergency benefits in 2008 and expanded them in last year’s stimulus.