Everyone knows that we are living in tough economic times. People from all walks of life are having to cope with unemployment and the realities of the recession. Unfortunately, thousands of people in Minnesota are facing additional worry and pressure as their unemployment benefits and health insurance start to run out. Unless action is taken soon, thousands of hardworking Minnesotans, people just trying to find a job and make a living, will lose unemployment benefits by the end of the year. What will happen to them and their familes then is scary to consider.
That’s why yesterday I visited a workforce center in south Minneapolis to draw attention to the issue and the struggles that many people seeking jobs face. A bill that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives aims to extend unemployment benefits by an additional thirteen weeks, but only for states with unemployment above 8.5 percent. Minneapolis and Minnesota have unemployment rates below the national average, less than eight percent, and would not qualify under this bill.
Thankfully however, Senators Klobuchar and Franken are working to change this and extend benefits to all states. I appreciate their work because the loss of these jobless benefits would simply create more economic hardship for people who are trying to get back to work. It is absolutely imperative that we extend unemployment benefits for people who are still trying to get back on their feet.
At the workforce center I visited yesterday, 24,000 people have been helped to find jobs in the past six months. The number of employment workshops being held has increased more than 75 percent. The need for help is clearly there. Our economy is on the rebound, but turning things around will take time and people need some kind of a safety net until the economy fully recovers.
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