December 1, 2010 | 9:35am
You'd never guess it by the numbers retail stores pulled in over the busiest shopping weekend of the year, but the National unemployment rate is 9.6 percent. And by month's end, close to 2 million will have lost their extended unemployment benefits, according MSNBC.com
In Florida, 100,000 residents are expected to lose their benefits by Saturday, just one week into December. That's about ten percent of the Sunshine's State's 1.1 million unemployed.
Since 2007, extended unemployment benefits have lasted up to 99 weeks. Prior to that Congressional decision, the average unemployment benefit package lasted only six months. But during a recession, six months doesn't cut it.
"If you've been unemployed for six months, you've gone through your savings," says economist Heidi Shierholz in a AP story that ran in the Miami Herald
Especially when the average weekly check is a little over $300.
"You have no choice but to spend (benefits) immediately," Shierholz added.
In Miami-Dade County, unemployment has flirted with 12 percent over the past several months, well above the national average, but in line with the state's 11.9 percent rate. However, about 26 percent of the State's unemployed are in South Florida.
Beginning today, unemployment benefits across the country will start fizziling out. Last night, Democrats tried extending benefits for another year just hours before the midnight deadline, but Republican Senator Scott Brown shot it down.
"It's not the way to do business in the United States Senate, and if it is it needs to change," he said.
Well Senator, what's your solution?