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More than 48,000 Tennesseans to Lose Jobless Benefits

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  More than 48,000 Tennesseans could lose their extended unemployment benefits by the end of the year.

As the recession gathered steam in early 2008, Congress authorized the first in a series of emergency extensions to unemployment benefits. With the jobless rate rising rapidly, the extra benefits were intended to tide the long-term unemployed over until the jobless rate began to fall.

With the economy finally showing some signs of improvement, Congress voted in February to phase out the special benefits by the end of 2012. Tennessee Department of Labor officials say more than 12,000 Tennesseans have already drawn the last of their emergency compensation checks. An additional 36,000 will lose the special benefits by the end of the year, or soon after.

Unless Congress chooses to extend benefits once again, unlikely in the current political climate, the long-term unemployed will receive no additional aid.

Anyone newly unemployed can expect the State of Tennesseans standard 13 to 26 weeks of jobless benefits.