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2 million lose jobless benefits as holidays arrive

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  • Even if Congress does lengthen benefits, cash assistance is at best a stopgap measure, said Carol Hardison, executive director of Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte, N.C., which has seen 20,000 new clients since the Great Recession started in December 2007.
    Unemployed and Unnoticed
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Tom Breen, Associated Press/MSNBC

Wayne Pittman, 46, of Lawrenceville, Ga., was working up to 80 hours a week as a carpenter at the beginning of the decade, but saw that gradually drop to 15 hours before it dried up completely.

Extended unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans begin to run out Wednesday, cutting off a steady stream of income and guaranteeing a dismal holiday season for people already struggling with bills they cannot pay.
Unless Congress changes its mind, benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks will end this month.

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That means Christmas is out of the question for Wayne Pittman, 46, of Lawrenceville, Ga., and his wife and 9-year-old son. The carpenter was working up to 80 hours a week at the beginning of the decade, but saw that gradually drop to 15 hours before it dried up completely. His last $297 check will go to necessities, not presents.

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"I have a little boy, and that's kind of hard to explain to him," Pittman said.

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More...

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Related:

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Unemployed and Unnoticed, Progress Report, Think Progress

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  • Today (Nov 30), Congress sets a new record; in the last 40 years, it has never allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire when the unemployment rate was above 7.2 percent.
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  • 2 million lose jobless benefits as holidays arrive
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  • Republican attack on labor goes way beyond Congress
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