Rasmussen: Americans Question Whether Extended Unemployment Benefits Do More Harm Than Good

Rasmussen Reports
12/3/2010

As Congress wrangles over whether to continue funding unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks, Americans express skepticism about the need for benefits that last that long.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that nearly half (49%) of adults, in fact, think providing unemployment benefits for 99 weeks increases the number of people who remain unemployed. Just 28% disagree, while another 23% are not sure. (To see survey questions, click here.)

Unemployed Americans are now eligible for up to 99 weeks of combined state and federal unemployment benefits because of emergency legislation passed by Congress. This legislation is now up for renewal.But 41% think 99 weeks for benefits is too long, while 16% say it’s too short a period. Thirty-four percent (34%) feel the benefits period is about right.

Perhaps one reason for the skepticism about the lengthy benefits arrangement is the finding that 58% of adults think it is possible for anyone with a college degree and willing to work to find a job within 99 weeks. Only 22% don’t think it’s possible for someone like that to find employment in a nearly two-year period. One-in-five (20%) are undecided.

New government figures released today show the national unemployment rate has risen slightly to 9.8 percent, remaining just short of 10% as it has for months.

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