Alabama extends unemployment benefits
Birmingham Business Journal - by Crystal Jarvis Staff
Alabama’s unemployed workers will now be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of compensation benefits, according to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.
The surge in the unemployment rate here – due to massive layoffs at companies grappling with the ailing economy – allows the state to extend its unemployment payments to its affected work force, the department said.
To qualify, a state’s three-month average unemployment rate must be at least 6 percent. Alabama’s average is currently 6.1.
The state’s overall unemployment rate jumped to 6.7 percent, a dramatic increase from November’s revised 6 percent. The state’s jobless rate is still lower than the national rate of 7.2 percent, but has steadily increased in recent months from 5.6 percent in October and 3.6 percent a year ago.
So far, Alabama has qualified for two extensions. In all, 33 weeks of benefits have been added to the existing 26 weeks of benefits unemployed workers normally receive.
“Hopefully, this extension will help to alleviate some of the financial burden for those who remain unemployed,” said Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees. “During such faltering economic times, many workers may feel there is nowhere to turn. Alabama’s Career Centers stand ready to help those workers meet these challenges.”
As of late, about 12,000 Alabamians are likely eligible for the additional benefits. The extension will go into effect on Feb. 15.For more information visit the agency’s Web site at www.dir.alabama.gov