236K Lose Jobless Benefits Some of country's hardest hit states see benefits expire By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted May 14, 2012 9:53 AM CDT 52 comments Comments Job candidates fill out forms for employment interviews at the Goodwill Southern California job fair in Bell, Calif. on Friday, March. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (Newser) – Unemployment benefits abruptly dried up for 236,300 people this weekend, as federal support for the long-term unemployed expired in some of the country's hardest-hit states. Thanks to a law Congress passed in February, long-term benefits are being scaled back from 99 weeks to 79 weeks, the Hill explains. So far, 27 states have been cut, for a total of 409,300 unemployed people, according to the National Employment Law Project This past weekend's cuts were especially painful, accounting for more than half of that by pulling the rug out from under eight states, including California (11% unemployment), North Carolina (9.7%), Florida (9%), and Illinois (8.8%). "Job openings are not taking the place of these cuts," lamented NELP's executive director. "A growing number of long-term unemployed workers are being left behind."