Yesterday’s distressing unemployment data sent the national unemployment rate above 10%. This came as President Obama prepared to sign into law a bill providing an extension of jobless benefits. The bill is a relatively small measure, by recent economic stimulus standards, at $24 billion. The bill will extend the eligibility to collect unemployment benefits by 14 weeks. In states with higher unemployment rates (of more than 8.5%), there is a 20 week extension.
But it’s not just the jobless benefits that have seen an extension. The bill is also extending the first time home buyer tax credit along the lines negotiated at the end of last week. The $8,000 credit for first time home buyers will be extended until the end of April, and there is an expansion to provide $6,500 for current home owners who are looking to buy.
On top of both of these sought after measures, the bill includes tax cuts for businesses that are struggling. This should help some businesses stay afloat until more substantial recovery can be seen in the economy.