40,000 jobless Tennesseans face deadline for federal aid - WSMV Channel 4

40,000 jobless Tennesseans face deadline for federal aid

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Anyone having trouble finding a job now could face even more difficulty come the first of the year.

On Dec. 31, nearly 40,000 Tennesseans will lose their unemployment benefits when the federal extension program expires.

"After that, they cut you right off," said job seeker Atallah Rogers.

Rogers received six months of unemployment benefits from the state, and the federal extension got her six months more assistance.

That ran out, and she says she's still jobless.

"Anything that comes along, I'm taking it," she said. "I'm not even being choosy. I'll work at McDonald's, Krystal, janitorial - it don't even matter. I don't even have a preference. I've been out of work so long."

Congress renewed the federal extension program only through 2012, so there is about to be more competition for job seekers once those extension benefits run out at the end of the year.

The last check for nearly 40,000 Tennesseans will come the first week of the new year.

"As of today, there are no program letters or guidance that indicates this will be extended," said Turner Nash Jr., with the Tennessee Employment Security Division.

That leaves six weeks for those job seekers to get serious. Those who wait may end up in line for help over the phone.

"Because we may, in any given month, receive 1 million phone calls," Nash said.

The Tennessee Department of Labor said jobs in the manufacturing sector are declining while service industry jobs are easier to find right now.

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