As Ohio economy falters, more than 40,000 jobless Ohioans stand to lose benefits on Dec. 28th
In a letter to Governor Kasich, Cuyahoga County Executive and Democratic candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald today urged action to prevent over 40,000 jobless Ohioans from having their unemployment benefits cut off on December 28th when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is set to expire.
Citing Ohio’s struggling economy — the state ranks 44th nationally in job creation, while 31,000 more Ohioans are out of work today than at this time last year — FitzGerald encouraged Governor Kasich to urge his former House colleague, Speaker John Boehner, to take action to extend the program for another year. If nothing is done, more than 128,000 Ohioans are in jeopardy of losing benefits by the end of 2014, at a time of increasingly sluggish job growth in the state.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Governor Kasich,
In just eleven days, federal unemployment benefits for millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Ohioans will end absent Congressional action. More than 40,000 jobless Ohioans stand to lose their benefits on December 28th, while another 128,000 could be impacted in the coming year. With Ohio’s unemployment rising and our economy headed in the wrong direction, now is not the time to take support away from middle-class families struggling to find work. I write to urge you to contact Speaker John Boehner, an Ohioan and your former House colleague, and the rest of our Congressional delegation to ensure that federal unemployment benefits do not expire for any Ohioans struggling in our state’s challenging economy.
As you know, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program is scheduled to completely stop at the end of 2013, during the holiday season, with the last payable week ending on December 28th. All current EUC beneficiaries will lose their benefits, and individuals exhausting their limited state unemployment benefits will no longer be eligible for EUC benefits in 2014. This cutoff will affect over 3 million Americans by the end of 2014, including over 128,000 Ohioans, and thereby also negatively impact our economic growth. According to studies by the Council of Economic Advisers and the Congressional Budget Office, expiration of the EUC program will cost the American economy 240,000 jobs and drain roughly four-tenths of a percentage point from first-quarter economic growth.
At this very moment, more than 427,000 of our fellow Ohioans are out of work and our state is ranked 44th in the nation in job growth. There are 31,000 more Ohioans on the unemployment rolls today than a year ago. For the first time in over three years, Ohio’s unemployment rate exceeds the national average, by a half-percentage point. While the national economy is making slow but steady progress, including adding jobs for 45 consecutive months, Ohio’s is unmistakably going in the wrong direction. Therefore, it is essential that all steps be taken to soften the blow for displaced and long-term unemployed workers.
Now is certainly not the time to further decimate vital assistance to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own, and who must actively seek work in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. I ask you to use your influence as the Governor of the seventh most-populous state in the country, as well as the Governor of a state with a worsening employment situation, to urge Speaker Boehner to do the right thing and extend federal unemployment for Ohio’s struggling middle-class families.
Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.