Posted by: Teaway Zehyoue Collins
Since the beginning of the recession in 2007, there has been an increase in the unemployment rate in Louisiana due to individuals facing job loss and having difficulties finding employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Louisiana increased from 3.8 percent in 2007 to 7.8 percent in 2010. The unemployment insurance system helps individuals in Louisiana that have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing a portion of their wages until they find employment. For instance, workers in Louisiana can receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits from the regular unemployment insurance program in Louisiana. Due the recession and high unemployment rate, Congress created the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program in 2008 where unemployed Louisianans can receive up to 47 additional weeks of unemployment benefits.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is set to expire on November 30th if Congress does not extend the program. Allowing unemployment benefits to expire will negatively impact the economy and hurt over 300,000 residents in Louisiana that are unemployed that are struggling to find employment in a tough labor market. The unemployment insurance is valuable in helping to boost the weak economy because residents in Louisiana receiving unemployment benefits are able to spend their benefit money fast which spreads throughout the economy in the state. Failing to provide federal emergency unemployment benefits for another year will drain millions of purchasing power from the state of Louisiana. For example, businesses in Louisiana will experience weaker sales and will be less likely to produce jobs due to the lack of spending support by the federal unemployment insurance benefits. Therefore, Congress providing additional weeks of unemployment benefits will positively impact individuals facing job loss and successful stimulating the economy of Louisiana.