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Phila. Group Says End of Unemployment Benefits Will Cause Cascading Job Losses

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(Unemployed workers look through help-wanted ads in a Labor Department field office.  Credit: Chris Hondros/ Getty Images)

(Unemployed workers look through help-wanted ads in a Labor Department field office. Credit: Chris Hondros/ Getty Images)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia organization that advocates for the unemployed today released a new study on the impact of the end of the federal emergency compensation program in the tri-state area.

According to the report, the Philadelphia Unemployment Project believes the region will lose tens of thousands of jobs.

“While the recession is over, the recovery has not brought jobs for large numbers of people,” says John Dodds, who runs the Philadelphia Unemployment Project.

The group has been lobbying federal lawmakers to reinstate the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, which at one time extended benefits from 26 weeks to more than 60.  The program ended on December 28th.

“As of this week,” says Dodds, “231,000 people have run out of their unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.”

(John Dodds, director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project.  Photo by Cherri Gregg)

(John Dodds, director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. Photo by Cherri Gregg)

He says the number will reach a half-million by the end of the year, and will have a rippling effect — meaning less consumer spending, leading to a possible loss of 35,000 jobs in the area.

“I don’t go out to dinner, I don’t go out to concerts, I just pay my bills, period,” says Lila Bricklin who, at 58, was laid off in July after 25 years in the nonprofit sector.  “This is not people living high on the hog. This compensation allows people to pay their bills while looking for work.”

Bricklin’s unemployment insurance ran out February 1st.   She has some savings, she says, but she’s not sure what will happen months from now.

“I’m really fearful, given my age and this economy,” she tells KYW Newsradio. “I’m too old for some jobs and too young to retire.”

Earlier this month, efforts to reinstate the program failed by one vote in the US Senate.   And future efforts could fall victim to Congressional gridlock.  An online petition demanding that Congress extended unemployment benefits through 2014 had obtained more than 5,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

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