Jobs Data Gives Hope for Benefits Extension

   < < Go Back
from The New York Times,

A jobs fair in Washington on Friday. Extended federal jobless benefits expired at year’s end. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The surprisingly weak December jobs report might have strengthened Democrats’ hand in the current fight over emergency jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed even as it weakened the party in the larger midterm election battle.

On Friday, the Labor Department said that the unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 6.7 percent. But the economy added only 74,000 jobs, and for every American who found work, five disappeared from the labor force.

With a Senate showdown set for Monday night on legislation to revive expired benefits for 1.3 million out-of-work Americans, those numbers handed Democrats a cudgel to break Republican resistance. The number of Americans out of work for more than six months and actively job-hunting stands at 3.9 million. In addition, about 347,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force in December.

More From The New York Times: