Unemployment benefits set to expire

It's bad news for people already going through a rough time.  Jobless benefits are set to expire at 12:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Ronald Reed is unemployed and says, “it's kind of frustrating.  There aren't too many jobs out there.”

Thousands of Nebraskan job hunters are feeling the same frustration, but even worse, now the pressure is mounting.  That's because extended unemployment benefits will expire.

The extended benefits meant that many of the unemployed were eligible for up to 99 weeks of benefits.  Beginning Wednesday, people who apply for the first time can expect a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits and many others could lose them before the 99 weeks are up.  Reed says, “I would like it to be extended one more time for me because I depend on it for rent and food.”

The Economic Policy Institute, which advocates for workers, gathered nearly three dozen economists to send a letter to Congress, urging it to renew the emergency benefits.

Reed says, “It's pretty hard for me to get a job right now.  There are so many people out there without a job.” 

The Nebraska unemployment rate is up slightly from last month and it's at the exact same spot is was at this time last year at 4.7%.