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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [08/11/2010]
Contact Name: Lina Garcia or Mike Trupo
Phone Number: (202) 693-4661 or x3414
Release Number: 10-1117-NAT

Statement of US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on 75th anniversary of Unemployment Insurance program

WASHINGTON —Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement on the 75th anniversary of the Unemployment Insurance program:

"Losing a job is never easy. Workers facing layoffs wonder how they will continue to support their families while they find work or enter training that will lead to new careers.

"The passage of the Social Security Act in 1935 created a lifeline for workers who lose jobs through no fault of their own. The Unemployment Insurance program has been there to help these individuals bridge the gap between layoffs and re-employment. The program provides much needed income support that helps workers stay in their homes and put food on the table while seeking out new jobs.

"The Unemployment Insurance program was created as part of the act during the depths of the Great Depression. Today, as we face the most serious economic situation since that time, we are reminded of the continued importance of the assistance made available through this federal-state program.

"Beyond the benefit to individual workers, Unemployment Insurance provides an important boost to the nation's economy. Unemployment Insurance recipients spend their benefits on food, fuel, utility bills and other necessities. Every dollar that goes into the program results in $1.60 in economic output. When consumers lose jobs and cannot spend, businesses suffer. Unemployment Insurance softens the economic blow of layoffs by allowing workers to spend money in their local economies.

"The recent recession has placed an increased demand on the Unemployment Insurance system. In response, Congress and the administration have extended benefits on more than one occasion. Workers in some states now can receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. For those who cannot find work right away, this extended period of eligibility allows for the time needed to earn an associate degree or professional certification that can lead to a stable career. Not only are these workers more immediately employable, they have taken steps to ensure that they have jobs over the long run. In doing so, these individuals can break the cycle of layoffs that leaves too many wondering where they will turn for their next job.

"This week we recognize both the anniversary of this important program, and the men and women in the federal-state unemployment system whose hard work guarantees that workers facing layoffs get the help they need. This anniversary is also an opportunity to acknowledge the challenges faced by those individuals who are receiving unemployment benefits. We at the U.S. Department of Labor know that this support can never replace a job, and we will continue to work diligently to ensure that our employment and training programs prepare participants for good careers in promising fields."