Nearly 1,400 To Lose Federal Unemployment Benefits in Panhandle - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Nearly 1,400 To Lose Federal Unemployment Benefits in Panhandle

Posted: Updated:

About 88,000 Floridians will no longer receive money through the recession-era federal unemployment program. Benefits expire tomorrow since congress didn't include it in their budget.

In our viewing area, that's about 1,400 people who won't be receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.

"It doesn't matter where they're at in the claim, how many weeks they have left," said Maria Goodwin, the director of the Workforce Center. "The last week to be able to claim any benefit is this week."

Employment Unemployment Compensation is a federal program started by "President George Bush in 2008 which kicks in when state benefits run out.

There are different levels of assistance but Saturday, it no longer exists.

"Really get out there, and get aggressive, take advantage of our workshops are here and our counselors here at the workforce center," said Goodwin to those who may be affected.

Meanwhile, she's happy to report the job market is looking up.

"When we compare our job market where we were last year, we are significantly better," said Goodwin. "We have a lower unemployment rate, we're seeing more jobs being advertised."

These jobs aren't just seasonal jobs either.

"So that's a good sign that's there more stability," said Goodwin.

This is good news for job-seekers like Keith Koppelman.

"I've been out of work since October of 2013," said Koppelman.

The job search has been a bit of struggle for Koppelman. He frequents the center to help him in his quest and will head to school next month to try and become more qualified.

"I'm hoping that the job force will come together and that 2014 will be better than 2013," said Koppelman.

Goodwin says January looks promising with at least two job fairs scheduled and seasonal jobs to begin hiring.

"A lot of our hospitality and leisure businesses tied to tourism start to gear up for spring break," said Goodwin.

Of those two job fairs scheduled for next month, General Dynamics is one of those employers. The other will focus on manufacturing jobs.