Unemployment benefits to change in Louisiana
Workers in Louisiana who lose their jobs next year won't get as much money from the state. Changes were made, as required by state law, to protect the unemployment trust fund.
After Jan. 1, the maximum weekly benefits will drop from $284 to $247. Businesses will have to pay more in taxes. Employers will pay taxes on the first $7,700 in each employee's earnings. Currently, taxes are paid on the first $7,000. Companies will also lose a 10 percent credit they had been receiving against their unemployment taxes.
The state's Revenue Estimating Conference agreed to projections showing a drop in the unemployment fund balance. That triggered the adjustments. State law requires the changes to keep the state unemployment trust fund from going bankrupt, as it did in the mid-1980s. The fund is projected to dip to less than $1.1 billion by August 2010. It was nearly $1.5 billion last year.
Louisiana's unemployment rate is 7.4 percent. The state paid out $418 million in benefits and claims from September 2008 to August 2009. That's more than double the $195 million paid out for the same period a year earlier.