Nearly 23,000 Marylanders To See Unemployment Benefits Expire - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Nearly 23,000 Marylanders To See Unemployment Benefits Expire

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MARYLAND – The holidays can be a stressful time for those struggling to find a job, and this year it could be more difficult than usual.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 1.3 million unemployed workers across the country will lose extended benefits on December 28th, as members of Congress returned home for the holidays with empty stockings for people suffering with long-term unemployment.

In Maryland, where the unemployment rate is at 6.7% as of October 2013, about 23,000 residents will no longer receive the sole source of their income while they look for work. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program currently allows 37 weeks of federal unemployment benefits after the 26 weeks of state unemployment insurance ends. While it may not seem like a significant amount of time, local experts say it is necessary.

"Finding a job is a full time job," says Maria Waller, president of Quality Staffing Services, which helps find employment on the Eastern Shore. "There is a lot of people looking for work, the jobs just haven't really materialized."

While advocates plan to push for the program again when congress convenes in January 2014, local experts are urging unemployed residents to take action.

"Look at entrepreneurship as an option," says Joe Morse, President of Maryland Capital Enterprises, a private nonprofit that provides counseling, classes, and loans for small businesses in the Eastern Shore of Maryland, along with Baltimore and Annapolis. "A lot of people are not qualified for those jobs that are available, yet those people may have some skill they find marketable and be able to use it for business."

However, if starting a business is not for you, Waller strongly recommends relying on networking and social media.

"A lot of the jobs are filled by networking it's still one of the best ways to find a job," says Waller. "It's really important to utilize all the possible social media tools. Linked In is a great tool for finding a job."

Waller says that January can be a big time for job openings because it is a time when businesses often work in a new budget. She says she has already seen an increase in permanent jobs in the area, and she is confident the market will improve for next year.

"Opportunities will come open, just make sure that you are knocking on every possible door," says Waller. "Hit the pavement as hard as possible and really get out there."

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