Take Action Today: Urge Your Congress Member to Renew Unemployment Insurance

Congress allowed emergency unemployment insurance to expire at the end of 2013, leaving 1.6 million Americans without a vital economic lifeline. Never before has Congress allowed unemployment insurance, or UI, extensions to expire with long-term unemployment so high Now, however, several weeks have passed, and Congress still has not renewed UI, resulting in the lowest share of unemployed workers receiving aid on record, even though there are still three jobseekers for every job.

The share of long-term unemployed workers is higher than ever before. When Congress has allowed unemployment benefits to expire in the past, the percentage of unemployed workers who were without work for six months or longer was never higher than 23 percent. Today, 38 percent of unemployed Americans have been out of work long term.

By letting unemployment insurance expire, Congress has pulled the rug out from under millions of American families struggling to get on their feet in the midst of an economic recovery. Unemployment insurance remains a crucial source of protection for unemployed workers; it kept 2.5 million people, including 600,000 children, out of poverty in 2012. By definition, these benefits are for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who are ready, willing, and able to take a new job. Enough is enough!

Congress must renew UI because it relieves hardship for jobseekers and their families and is one of the most efficient ways to spur job creation in a weak economy. If Congress does not renew UI, the economy will lose 310,000 jobs in 2014. Today, the percentage of unemployed workers who have been out of work long term, the length of unemployment, and the share of workers who run out of benefits before finding a new job are all higher than they were every time Congress has let emergency unemployment insurance expire after past recessions.

Federal unemployment insurance supports the unemployed jobseekers, keeps millions of Americans out of poverty, and spurs economic growth. The failure of Congress to renew unemployment benefits would be unprecedented in the history of federal responses to high unemployment following economic recessions, especially as 68 percent of Americans support extending the time limit for unemployment benefits for the unemployed during economic downturns.

Take action today to restore this crucial lifeline for struggling American families without making harmful cuts to programs for low-income children or other vulnarable people. Enter your zip code below to urge your Congress member to renew UI!