From reporter Annie Baxter:
Under current law, Minnesotans can draw up to 40 weeks of unemployment benefits, less than half as many as at the peak of the recession.
Without congressional action, the benefit package will shrink to 26 weeks, its pre-recession size. It is only coincidence that deadline is close to the larger budget and tax debate between the White House and Congress. But President Barack Obama is trying to insert the benefit extensions into fiscal cliff talks.
The National Employment Law Project estimates that 1 million workers nationwide will be dumped from extended benefit rolls. In Minnesota, 12,000 people will be cut off.
Hundreds of jobless workers recently showed up at a networking party for the unemployed at Grace Church in Eden Prairie.
Susan Angell of Shakopee scanned the crowded room looking for people who could connect her to work. Angell lost her job as an optical lab tech in May.
“There’s just not a lot out there for that right now,” she said.
At 28, Angell is hoping to change careers and recently completed some training in information technology.