Governor Granholm Signs Legislation to Extend Unemployment Benefits

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

August 14, 2003

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed legislation into law that will extend unemployment insurance benefits up to an additional 26 weeks for Michigan’s unemployed workers.  The law will distribute more than $206 million in extended unemployment benefits.
Sponsored by Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor) and Rep. Barbara Farrah (D-Southgate) with overwhelming bipartisan support, the plan provides Michigan workers with additional unemployment benefits through the federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation-X (TEUC-X) program and the federal-state Extended Benefits (EB) program.  TEUC-X provides eligible jobless workers with up to 13 additional weeks of federal benefits after they exhaust their first tier of TEUC benefits.  The EB program provides up to 13 more weeks of combined federal and state-funded benefits.
“Providing this relief to laid-off workers who have been experiencing difficulty in finding new employment will help provide security to their families and a boost to our state economy,” Granholm said.  “We’re putting economic relief in the pocketbooks of people who need our help the most.”
“The national unemployment rate was at a nine-year high just six weeks ago,” Granholm added.  “Across the country, nine million Americans are out of work and feeling the pinch of our tight economy the most.   In Michigan, those unemployed workers and their families are struggling, too – we’re reaching out to offer them support now, and fighting to find new jobs for them tomorrow.”

Michigan’s unemployed workers generally receive 26 weeks of unemployment compensation once they have lost their jobs.  The new law provides for the disbursement of $206 million in extended unemployment benefits which includes $181 million from the federal government, $23 million from the State Unemployment Trust Fund, and $1.75 million from the State Unemployment Trust Fund Penalty and Interest Account. 
The extended unemployment benefits would apply to claimants who qualified on or after the week ending May 24, 2003, and before the week ending December 27, 2003.
“I commend Senator Liz Brater of Ann Arbor and Representative Barbara Farrah of Southgate for their work on this legislation,” Granholm said. “They understand that while the nation struggles with an economic slowdown, we, in Michigan, will do everything we can to keep families strong.”
While the state must immediately support those workers who are temporarily unemployed, Granholm underscored that the state must also help workers by creating and recruiting new jobs. 

Last week, Granholm announced that she will convene a state-level summit of Michigan’s manufacturing industry leaders to explore the issue of continuing job loss in the manufacturing sector.  She said she will encourage the governors of the nation’s other top manufacturing states to hold similar meetings and to bring their message to the nation’s capitol.  Granholm has vowed to be the “saleswoman in chief” for bringing new jobs to Michigan.  In recent months, she has pitched Michigan as a job site to Boeing and has announced the expansion of seed money to foster new, high-tech, life-science business opportunities in Southwest Michigan.  Since taking office, Granholm has announced the creation or protection of thousands of jobs across Michigan.

“We’re working to protect and create jobs in Michigan all day, every day,” she added.