Unemployment runs out Dec. 28: '17,800 Oregonians won't have benefits'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Federal unemployment funding is projected to run out Saturday, Dec. 28 as the new budget passed by congress didn't include unemployment benefits.

Tom Fuller of the Oregon Employment Office said that the state has money budgeted to support 2,200 unemployed people of the nearly 20,000 on the state's benifit program.

"What this means... those 17,800 Oregonians won't have benefits," said Fuller

This isn't the first time congress halted the federal unemployment program. Fuller said that just like last time it becomes a waiting game.

"We just keep our fingers on the pulse of what's happening in Washington, what's happening here in Salem. And once we have a decision, then we jump into giving those benefits out to who ever is eligible for them," said Fuller.

After getting laid off, David Wallace said he found the unemployment process is difficult.

"You get laid off, now you have to fight and argue to get your money," said Wallace."It's too big of a mess for me to even pay attention. When it runs out well I'm broke again."

While unemployment numbers are on the decline, labor economist Brian Rooney said we're still in a time period characterized by high, long-term unemployment.

"What seems to be happening is that people who lost their jobs during the great recession do not have the skills or qualifications to get a lot of jobs available today," said Rooney.

The Oregon Employment Office said preparing people to go get new jobs is the best way to combat this federal funding gap. Resources For Job Seekers |

"We want them to come in to our resource centers. We want to get them into training... To get them back to work," said Fuller.

The state legislature will resume session in February.

At that time, Oregon's leaders can decide if they want to budget in more for state unemployment to help fill the absence of federal funding.