A healthier job market could make the Federal Reserve scale back its extraordinary economic stimulus programs. The Fed has been buying $85 billion in bonds each month to keep long-term interest rates low and encourage borrowing and spending.
More than 3.8 million people collected some form of unemployment benefits in the last full week of November.
However, 1.25 million of them could soon lose those benefits. They received aid under a special federal program for the long-term unemployed that is set to expire on Dec. 28.
The program extends aid that usually expires after six months for an additional 28 weeks. Congressional leaders have proposed a budget deal that would not preserve the additional benefits, meaning that as many as 2.1 million Americans will lose this assistance by March.