States shorten duration for unemployment benefits

May 22, 2011 - 8:43 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some states are cutting the number of weeks that laid-off workers can get unemployment insurance, as a way to limit tax increases on businesses.

Michigan, Missouri and Arkansas recently reduced the maximum number of weeks that the jobless can receive those unemployment benefits.

The cuts are taking place as legislatures deal with the damage that the recession inflicted on state unemployment insurance programs. There was a sharp increase in the number of people who lost their jobs, and that quickly drained the pool of money to pay out benefits.

States usually provide up to 26 weeks of benefits to laid-off workers. Michigan and Missouri have cut the maximum duration to 20 weeks. Arkansas went to 25. Florida is likely moving to a maximum of 23 weeks.