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Demonstration against joblessness in the US (file photo)

Demonstration against joblessness in the US (file photo)

Over 500,000 Americans have lost extended unemployment benefits since the start of the year, and two million more are scheduled to lose their benefits on January 1, 2013. As 13 million people in the US suffer without work, the federal government pushes further to shut off extended unemployment benefits, ending the only source of cash income for millions of families. Yet, despite the disastrous impact of the cuts, it has been largely ignored both by the major media and the US electoral campaigns. Moreover, the administration of President Barack Obama has already let it be known that it will not seek a renewal of the extended jobless benefits. With the start of the new year, there will be no part of the country that offers more than 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. This is far less than the average duration of unemployment, which has hovered near 40 weeks for over a year. Currently, 40 percent of the jobless population has been out of work for six months or longer, while 30 percent have been unemployed for a year or more. Prior to the present recession, the highest-ever recorded percentage of the people out of work for more than six months was 26 percent. DA/HN