Many running out of unemployment benefits - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Many running out of unemployment benefits

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- The unemployment rates in Yakima and the Tri-Cities jumped last month but new data shows that fewer people are actually collecting unemployment benefits.

In Yakima the unemployment rate for November went up almost 1.5%, in Tri-Cities almost 1%. Experts say it isn't that uncommon with many seasonal Ag. workers looking elsewhere.
But what has changed is the amount of people collecting unemployment, that number has actually gone down.

Justin Redman had been out of work for 6 months when he finally found a job with a local insurance company. He says the hunt was tough, but it was staying motivated that was the challenging part.

"There's days when you don't want to get up, because you know you're not going to anything," said Redman.

Redman found help at WorkSource and like many other unemployed workers he revamped his resume and took classes to make himself more marketable.
But according to November's unemployment numbers many people aren't being that proactive and aren't finding work before their benefits run out.

"We've seen people who have been unemployed for more than a year, sometimes 2 years and they are no longer eligible to be on unemployment benefits," said Sondra Pieti with WorkSource Yakima.

In Yakima there are a little over 850 fewer people on some type of benefit, even more in the Tri-Cities.

"Once your benefits are maxed out, there is no longer additional beyond the 99 weeks,

99 weeks is the longest possible term to receive benefits, and that's only if you are eligible for everything.

Pieti says she see's a lot of people run out, then stress about finding work.

"We want them to come in sooner so that they can look at the different skills they have, work on those skills so they're skill level can go up, they're more employable," said Pieti.

WorkSource stresses the importance of starting your search early and taking advantage of all the services they offer so you don't have to run your benefits down to the very end.