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Extended Unemployment Benefits To End Saturday

Some 17,000 Arizonans who have been unable to find work are facing a new financial burden at the end of the week. Their extended unemployment benefits are to end Dec. 28. That’s the result of the failure of Congress to approve an extension of long-term jobless benefits before going on its holiday break.

Rebekah Friend of the Arizona AFL-CIO says it’s hard to imagine what Christmas dinner would be for people who have mainly done the right things.

“Mostly through no fault of your own, you find yourself unemployed,” Friend said. “You're pounding the pavement, you're looking for jobs, and the safety net that we've all agreed to as a society, comes to an end."

Arizona pays a maximum weekly unemployment benefit of $240, almost $70 less than the national average. The federal emergency benefits are intended to help people who still can’t find a job when state benefits run out after 26 weeks.

In the wee small hours of the morning, when most of us are working on REM sleep, Morning Edition host and reporter, Dennis Lambert busily prepares the news and information KJZZ listeners hear as they prepare for the day. He did that for KJZZ listeners from 1996 to 2016. Dennis retired in 2016.