2 million Americans to lose jobless benefits as holidays arrive

WASHINGTON (AP) - Extended unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans are beginning to run out, cutting off a steady stream of income and guaranteeing a dismal holiday season for people already struggling to pay bills.

Unless Congress changes its mind, benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks will end this month.

The average weekly unemployment benefit in the U.S. is $302.90, although it varies widely. Because of supplemental state programs and other factors, it's hard to know for sure who will lose their benefits at any given time.

The Labor Department estimates that without an extension about 2 million people will be cut off by Christmas. But forget Christmas presents. What the so-called "99ers" want most of all is a job.

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