Thousands in Palmetto State set to lose unemployment benefits - FOX Carolina 21

Thousands in the Palmetto State set to lose unemployment benefits

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Source: Fox Carolina Source: Fox Carolina
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The federal budget signed into law by President Obama on Thursday did not include an extension for long term unemployment benefits.

The "emergency unemployment compensation" program, started by George W. Bush in 2008, helped those who remained unemployed even after they had maxed out their state benefits. For some the program provided benefits for up to two years.

The Department of Labor says 1.3 million Americans will lose their benefits on Saturday, including more than 50,000 South Carolinians. The average payout is estimated at just over $1,100 a month.

Tom Smythe, a business professor at Furman University, says it helps that this comes at a time when South Carolina's unemployment rate is below the national average, and the economy is improving.

"We are at a place where the transition will be smoother than it might have been," said Smythe.

Smythe added that this could be the perfect time to end the program all together.

"The employment situation is at a point to where these types of emergency measures only cost us money," said Smythe. "And they have the possibility to create incentives not to work."

But John McFadden, who was signing up for benefits at the South Carolina Works office in Greenville, says he desperately needs the money. "Especially around the Christmas season. I have two children of my own," McFadden said.

Some lawmakers in Washington say they plan to take the issue of extending benefits up when they reconvene in January. McFadden says they should have fixed the problem before dismissing for the holidays.

"If it came to their own salaries they would have made the time to vote for it," McFadden said.

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