Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yuma unemployment rate surpasses worst year of Great Depression

Republican lawmakers cut off jobless aid to Arizonans

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Yuma’s unemployment rate has surpassed the unemployment level during the worst year of the Great Depression, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics.

Yuma’s unemployment rate is 25.3 percent, the department reported in April. In 1933, the worst year of the Great Depression, the nationwide unemployment rate was 24.9 percent. (See:

“This is the last thing Yuma needs right now,” said Rep. Lynne Pancrazi, D-Yuma (District 24). “The only thing worse is that the majority of lawmakers chose ideology over the needs of the people of Arizona and refused to extend jobless aid at the capitol this week. So many people in Yuma depend on that extra cash to put food on the table while they look for jobs.”

On Monday, Republican lawmakers dismissed a special session called by Gov. Jan Brewer to extend unemployment benefits without taking any action. At least 15,000 unemployed Arizonans stopped receiving their unemployment insurance Tuesday, and an additional 25,000 will lose it later this year.

$3.5 million a week in already-appropriated federal dollars stopped coming into Arizona’s businesses and economy due to the inaction.

“This truly is kicking Arizona when it’s down, and it hits Yuma especially hard,” Pancrazi said. “It truly is outrageous and we ought to hold them accountable.”

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