Whether Congress can reach a deal during what has been dubbed “fiscal cliff” budget talks by the end of December could affect thousands of Inland Southern California residents searching for work.
More than 44,000 Inland area inhabitants may lose their federal unemployment benefit extensions Dec. 29 unless the program is a part of a deal between the Legislature and President Barack Obama on taxes and spending cuts, reported the Press-Enterprise.
The unemployed get 26 weeks of benefits typically from the state of California, but due to the lagging economy, the federal government funds extended benefits for up to 73 weeks, making them last for around 99 weeks or nearly two years total.
The newspaper reported that the California Employment Development Department said in November that around 400,000 people statewide would be affected by negotiations between members of Congress and the president.
In Riverside County, 23,165 residents face this deadline if Congress fails to act, 21,046 in San Bernardino County, and 85,000 in Los Angeles County, the newspaper reported.
According to Employment Development Department statistics, Riverside County has a 12 percent unemployment rate. San Bernardino County is at 11.2 percent and Los Angeles County at 10.3 percent.
More than 908,000 residents statewide have run out of employment benefits, according to the EDD website.
Paul Granillo, president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, told the Press-Enterprise that he planned to write elected officials to make sure they remember that the area is still facing hard times.
“We need to have leadership from Congress and the president, to deal with this issue,” Granillo said. “They have to remember that the Inland Empire is one of the areas … that was hit the worst. Our Congressional leaders have to take a role to avert this.”
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