For Robin Thorngren and Bill Carpenter, the recession and unemployment have lasted longer than their jobless benefits.
The couple, both unemployed for many months, saw the last of their unemployment checks come this month and prospects they will see another one anytime soon are uncertain.
When Thorngren, who lost her job in November, found out her benefits were ending, she said, "I was scared."
She and Carpenter, who was laid off from MPC Corp. in fall 2008, are among thousands of Idahoans who might not have lost that thin, economic lifeline if Congress had voted for an extension of the federal benefits it has paid to help people who have lost their jobs.
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About 5,500 Idahoans have exhausted their state and federal unemployment benefits. An estimated 22,000 could see the same thing happen over the next several months if Congress doesn't act. Nationally, a little more than 1.3 million people already have lost benefits. By the end of July, the number could be as high as 3 million.
Jobless workers aren't the only ones likely to feel the pain.
Unemployment checks pumped into the economy do more than keep families afloat during tough times. They are an automatic stabilizer in the economy, said John Church, a Boise economist. They help keep an economic trough from being deeper.
"It pulls the bottom up," he said.
Read the complete story at idahostatesman.com