That's how many people in the country have been unemployed for at least 99 weeks, which is the maximum amount of time people can receive unemployment benefits. That means there are 1.4 million people who are out of work and aren't receiving any financial help from the federal government. The new figure is the result of a study by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which used employment data from October.
The so-called 99ers make up a group of very long-term unemployed. In addition to the 1.4 million who have been unemployed for 99 weeks, the CRS study found that, as of December, 6.4 million people fall into the long-term unemployed category, meaning they have been jobless for six months. Thanks to a deal brokered by President Barack Obama during the lame-duck session, this group of the long-term jobless are still receiving aid.
The numbers are disturbing. The longer people are unemployed, the harder it is for them to find a job. As the Huffington Post noted in its report on the CRS study, "Once long-term unemployment sets in, even a college degree is often of little help." U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) is pushing legislation to give benefits to the 99ers, but with Republicans now in control of the House, don't count on help anytime soon these 1.4 million people. Their suffering will likely go on.