Extended unemployment ends, locals react
By Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter
Chattanooga, TN (WRCB) --Millions of Americans face losing extended federal unemployment benefits this week.
In July 2008 Congress extended jobless benefits up to 99 weeks. That's 73 weeks of federal benefits on top of the 26 weeks of state benefits. Those extended federal benefits begin phasing out today unless Congress takes action.
Most House Republicans don't want another unemployment extension. They're now in control and say the extra benefits will increase the nation's deficit.
However those relying on the benefits, say this is not a good move.
"I've applied to Wall-Mart, K-Mart, Sears, Target, everywhere, and have no luck so far finding a job," says Brandon Chancey.
Chancey is one of thousands in Tennessee searching for a job. For more than 17 months, Chancey has applied and been denied. So the husband and father of three has been relying on unemployment to barely scrape by, and it's really starting to take a toll.
"They're saying recession, it's more like a depression," said Chancey.
Chancey knows if he isn't hired soon, it's only going to get worse. Unless Congress changes something, he and anyone else collecting will not be able to renew their benefits after their current plan expires.
We asked if he believed he'll be hired in the next couple months?
"Hopefully it better be a couple weeks. Unemployment runs out in the middle of December, and that's it for me, it's hitting right in the Christmas time, I mean I don't know," says Chancey.
Studies done by Congress show that every dollar spent on unemployment generates almost two dollars of economic growth.
The question Congress remains to answer, if extended unemployment disappears for good how will it effect the nation's slow recovery.
In the mean time, those employed locally, are still seeing an increase of applicants, Stone Cup is no different.
"I don't know if people have a specific interest to get into our industry, or it's just that drive to get a job," said manager Laura Hagemann.
Either way, there are more people than jobs, and those who will see unemployment disappear are left with one question.
"You have two kids and bills to pay, how do you pay them. That's the hardest part, it's always bothers you, it's always on your mind, no matter what you're doing," added Chancey.
The TN State Labor Dept. said with in the next two months this will affect anywhere from 50 to 100,000 Tennesseans.
They said if your plan runs out, keep checking in weekly to tell them your work status. If Congress changes anything that will speed up your process in the future.