Long-Term Unemployed Debate Their Next Move The monthly unemployment report released Friday is expected to show the economy added jobs in November, but not fast enough to bring down the jobless rate. At the same time, Congress has yet to pass another extension of unemployment benefits. Up to two million unemployed people stand to lose that benefit by the end of the year, and they're scrambling to figure out what to do next.
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Long-Term Unemployed Debate Their Next Move

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Long-Term Unemployed Debate Their Next Move

Long-Term Unemployed Debate Their Next Move

Long-Term Unemployed Debate Their Next Move

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The monthly unemployment report released Friday is expected to show the economy added jobs in November, but not fast enough to bring down the jobless rate. At the same time, Congress has yet to pass another extension of unemployment benefits. Up to two million unemployed people stand to lose that benefit by the end of the year, and they're scrambling to figure out what to do next.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

A: NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports on how some of those people are planning to get by.

YUKI NOGUCHI: Next week, Kim Beatty celebrates her 42nd birthday. And assuming there's no extension of benefits, it also marks her last $403 benefits check.

M: But it doesn't even cover my mortgage.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: So...

NOGUCHI: So Beatty is trying to find a roommate. She's buying fewer groceries. And after Congress let the latest deadline on extended benefits expire, she considered storming the Capitol from her home in nearby Alexandria, Virginia.

M: You know, I was just that frustrated. Like, you don't understand how much of, just now, an added burden you're putting on people. It's not that people don't want to work.

NOGUCHI: And Beatty herself says she's applying for every job she can find. Beatty lost her job when an au pair agency shut down a year and a half ago. She hasn't considered moving to be near family in Michigan or Florida, because the job market supposedly is better near Washington. But she says the number of job openings can be deceptive.

M: Even though the unemployment may be lower here than it is in other areas, so much of it are government jobs that are available. But they want people who already have federal government experience, but I can't get that experience until I get one of those jobs.

NOGUCHI: She says that just compounds her frustration.

M: You know, I'm trying to stay in my home. I'm trying not to be, you know, one of the thousands or millions of people that are in foreclosure.

NOGUCHI: Andrew Stettner is deputy director of the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for working families. Although politicians are focused on cutting spending and taxes, he says not spending money on benefits will inflict harm across the economy.

M: Cutting off extended jobless benefits right now will cut off the knees of the recovery. This is money that stores, landlords and communities are counting on.

NOGUCHI: Emily Faith does not agree. The 33-year-old Rochester resident says she's had to swallow her pride. She went from working on major television shows to getting laid off from the local coffee house. This week marks her 77th week on unemployment.

M: I mean, I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about it. But, you know, the realities of me not finding a job soon is that I could be homeless.

NOGUCHI: Yuki Noguchi, NPR News.

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