Government extends unemployment benefits - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Government extends unemployment benefits

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

November 21, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The latest figures from the Department of Labor show that in October, new unemployment claims rose more than 88% compared to where they were in October 2007.

Like everywhere else in the nation, unemployment is up across Georgia. In October, the rate was 7%. According to Darton College Professor Aaron Johnson, one year ago: "it was below 5%."

The current number is the highest in more than 16 years. It seems clear that the nation is in a recession. The roots of the recession lie in one key sector of the economy.

"I think it goes back to the financial system," according to Johnson.

With banks not lending money, people can't buy big ticket items, such as houses and cars.

While the current economic crisis started in the banking and housing industries, it looks like it might be spreading into the automotive industry as well. If that happens, the economy could be in big trouble.

Feeling the pressure, on Friday the federal government extended unemployment benefits. The length of the extension is based on a state's unemployment rate. What does it mean for us in the Peach State?

"In Georgia, we have an unemployment rate of 7%, so we will be eligible for the 13 week extension," said Johnson.

In Georgia, those who are unemployed can go to a Georgia Department of Labor Career Center, there are 10 of them in our area. When you go there you need a few basic things. 

"They just need their work history information, just a few facts," said Cherry Riser of the Georgia Department of Labor.

And if you have any trouble, the staff at the career center can help you find your way. And it looks like the people at the Department of Labor may be busy for a while. When does Professor Johnson think that the economy might begin to recover?

"I would say the earliest would be the second half of 2009, likely even extending into 2010."

Something for all of us to look forward to.

The Georgia Department of Labor plans to mail information to people whose unemployment benefits have expired. You can call them for more information or go to their website.

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