When the economy is trouble, it's harder for people to find jobs. And, in past downturns, Congress has provided emergency extensions of unemployment insurance. Not only does it help the jobless survive financially. It also boosts the economy, since the unemployed quickly tend to spend those benefits on immediate needs, fueling growth.
But it took a fight to extend those benefits when the benefits expired over the summer, thanks to Republicans objections. And it's likely going to take another fight when the extension expires again at the end of November.
What would that mean? My friends at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have the answer:
...all federal unemployment insurance benefits will end in 40 states, and the number of weeks available in the rest of the states will shrink significantly, as the map below shows. Most of the several hundred thousand workers who exhaust their regular state benefits each month would receive no further help, and many of the 5 million workers now receiving federal emergency benefits would lose their remaining weeks.