Extended jobless benefits end after $800M payouts

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's share of the now-expiring extended federal unemployment benefit program is ending at $800 million in payments, with the last 2,500 long-term unemployed workers in the state getting their final cut this week.

Congress didn't renew the extended benefit program that began in 2008, just after the recession began, to ease pain of escalating unemployment amid the housing bubble's burst and deep dip of the stock market.

But the extended program is just a share of money paid out to jobless people since 2008.

Almost $1.47 billion in regular Idaho benefits from the insurance program have been handed out over the last six years, according to the Department of Labor.

Those getting extended benefits were told in mid-December payments would cease this week. The average weekly benefit is $262.