Labor Seal NYS Department of Labor                          

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UI Benefit Extension Will Impact More Than 2,600 Capital Region Residents

Albany, NY (January 22, 2009) - State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith today announced that the Department of Labor will once again have staff in the One-Stop Career Center in Schenectady County, located in the new Schenectady County Office Building at 797 Broadway.

“The Labor Department’s return to Schenectady County couldn’t come at a better time,” said Commissioner Smith. “With an expert staff committed to the betterment of Schenectady County and its residents, this center will offer everything from job searching techniques to resume writing workshops. Working with our local partners, we will literally help thousands of workers in Schenectady County struggling under the weight of the current recession change their lives for the better.”

At a press conference held at the career center, Commissioner Smith also spoke about the state’s and region’s latest private sector employment statistics for December 2008.

“Over the last three months, New York State has lost 102,900 private sector jobs,” said Commissioner Smith. “The state’s unemployment rate, after seasonal adjustment, increased from 6 percent in November 2008 to 7 percent in December 2008. This jump from 6 to 7 percent represents the largest jump in an unemployment rate since we started tabulating these numbers in New York.”

“These are sobering statistics,” Commissioner Smith continued, “which is why Governor Paterson and I have actively lobbied Congress to extend the duration of UI benefits beyond the traditional 26 weeks. Our efforts, and the efforts of countless others, paid off for struggling families across the state.”

The commissioner explained that a 13-week extension passed in June, and a second extension passed in November. The second extension provided New Yorkers with an additional seven weeks of UI benefits, for a total of 20 weeks of extended benefits. A provision of the second extension gave laid-off workers in states with unemployment rates averaging 6 percent or higher over a three-month period 13 weeks of additional benefits, for a total of 33 weeks of extended benefits.

Commissioner Smith said, “As our last three months saw unemployment rates of 5.7, 6 and 7 percent, our three-month average reaches that threshold. On February 22nd, New Yorkers will be able to start claiming the additional 13 weeks, for a total of 33 weeks of extended benefits.”

“There are more than 68,000 New Yorkers statewide who have exhausted or will exhaust their first 20 weeks of benefits, and will now be eligible for an additional 13 weeks. That number includes more than 2,600 people here in the Capital Region. The UI systems will allow individuals to claim these weekly benefits without speaking to an agent. The easiest way to claim these benefits is via the Web.”

Based on research by Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s, every dollar of unemployment insurance benefits generates a $1.64 increase in economic activity. This is because unemployment insurance benefits are most likely to be spent immediately on basic essentials, providing a boost to local businesses.

Since the additional 13-week extension of UI benefits is expected to pay out $270 million statewide, it will amount to an economic impact of approximately $443 million. In the Capital Region alone, the additional 13-week extension will pay out nearly $15 million, resulting in a local economic impact of more than $24 million.

The deadline for filing a new claim for extended unemployment insurance benefits is March 29, 2009. Individuals that exhaust their regular unemployment insurance benefits after that date are not eligible for extended benefits.

It is possible that Congress may extend unemployment insurance benefits again. Workers are encouraged to check the Department of Labor’s web site at for current information regarding extended unemployment insurance benefits, eligibility rules and instructions on how to apply.