Last week the Missouri House passed House Bill 150 with a vote of 112 to 47.  Currently Missourians can receive unemployment benefits for 26 weeks from the state and none is offered by the Federal Government.  This is because the Federal Extensions were not renewed by Congress in 2013.  HB 150 would decrease the duration of unemployment benefits as the unemployment rate decreases.  Below is a chart that shows howthese rates are determined:

Unemployment rate

Weeks of benefits

9% and greater

20 weeks

Above 8.5% and < 9%

19 weeks

8% and ≤ 8.5%

18 weeks

Above 7.5% and <8%

17 weeks

7% and ≤ 7.5%

16 weeks

Above 6.5% and <7%

15 weeks

6% and ≤ 6.5%

14 weeks

Below 6%

13 weeks

If there is not enough money to pay for benefits, money is borrowed from the Federal Government.  This results in taxes being raised on Missouri businesses to pay for these benefits.  This bill raises the amount of money kept in the fund by $120 million to prevent borrowing from the Federal Government.  If Missouri is going to remain competitive we need to ensure that unemployment taxes remain low.

Evidence also shows when people are receiving unemployment benefits for long periods of time that some people will be reluctant to find employment.  This occurred during Obama’s recession when some State and Federal Unemployment benefits had a combined total of 99 weeks in some areas of the country.

A recent study, that I mentioned in Floor Debate in the House made some observations about unemployment benefits.  The study found “that the cut in unemployment benefit duration led to a 2% increase in aggregate employment, accounting for nearly all of the remarkable employment growth in the U.S. in 2014.” It also stated, “The U.S. unemployment rate was higher and the long-term unemployment rate was at least twice as high as it was at the expiration of every previous unemployment benefit extension program.”

You can review this report at

Additional Information:  The Federal Government ended Unemployment Extension in 2013. Each year Congress can reauthorize this extension, but has chosen not to.  Extension have normally ranged from 6-20 weeks.

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