As fiscal cliff deadline nears, those on unemployment worry - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

As fiscal cliff deadline nears, those on unemployment worry

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

According to a report by the U.S. Labor Department released Thursday, jobless rates fell by 12,000 in the week ending in December 22 to 350,000.  But for those 350,000, they're still wondering what's going to happen to their benefits if talks continue to stall on how to avoid the fiscal cliff. 

(See "No deal in sight as deadline for fiscal deal nears")  

If a decision can't be reached on the fiscal cliff, people receiving unemployment benefits could see them cut as soon as Saturday, and for people like Russell Smith, who receive benefits, the future is uncertain. 

"I get a lot of resumes out there, but there are a lot of other people looking for work too, and yeah it makes me nervous," Smith said.  
Smith is just one of the more than two million people on unemployment benefits, and while he has a part time job, it's still tough to make ends meet.
"We're living paycheck to paycheck.  There is no extra.  What extra that I did have when I was laid off, I've already used just trying to with living expenses," he said.  
Smith said he can't pay all of his bills on a part time job, so he needs federal assistance. 
"It's the difference between making ends meet and not.  You don't get luxury's living off it but it helps pay the bills," he said.  
Other people in the Tri-States are also looking for jobs, and have been for months.  Great River Economic Development Foundation Interim President Phil Conover said because people are unsure what's going to happen, it's hurting those looking for jobs even more.   
"And capital doesn't move during periods of uncertainty, so hiring slows down because people don't know whether or not they should add to their staff or not, giving possible increased costs," Conover said.  
But despite everything, Smith said he's still grateful he has a part time job. 
"I can't imagine if I didn't have something.  There are people out there that don't have anything at all and I do feel very fortunate. It's a blessing to have that," he said.

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