Thousands of long-term unemployed workers in the northwest will soon lose unemployment checks. It'll happen this weekend in Oregon; two weeks later in Washington State but likely not for several more months in Idaho. The federal government won't pay for extended benefits anymore because the jobless rates have improved.
Washington and Oregon's employment departments announced that one emergency unemployment program is being curtailed and another is being shut down completely this month. That shortens the maximum time a worker can collect unemployment from nearly two years down to about a year and five months.
A union group posted a testimonial on YouTube from laborer Wade Jackson of Seattle.
"I've been out of work for almost two years," Jackson says in the video. "Bills are hard to pay. My unemployment is about to run out. There are no jobs out there for us. So I don't know what I'm going to do actually to keep the roof over my head."
Washington's unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent in February. It was 8.8 in Oregon and 8.0 percent in Idaho.
Idaho's Department of Labor anticipates its extended benefits will phase out in September.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network