As many as 1.5 million Americans will lose unemployment benefits by the end of the year, reports the New York Times. Some 9 million Americans currently receive an average of $300 a week in unemployment, and many in the current recession have failed to find work for a year or more. Several groups are calling on Congress to extend benefits again this fall.
Economists generally oppose long-term unemployment benefits as a disincentive to work, but in the current job market—unemployment is 9.5% nationally—the supply of workers outstrips demand. One Ohio mother of four, whose benefits run out next month, has been unable to find work despite steadily interviewing for jobs. She's now facing the prospect of homelessness: "I can't find a job, and you can't survive if you don't work," she said.