The U.S. Department of Labor has declared that unemployed Minnesotans are no longer eligible for the final tier of extended federal unemployment benefits, which provide compensation for a maximum of 79 weeks. That maximum will now be 72 weeks.
The change was made because Minnesota's unemployment rate has dipped below the threshold for the extended benefits, state labor officials announced Thursday.
Minnesota's unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in September, which put the state's three-month average at 7.8 percent. Only states that have unemployment rates of 8 percent or higher can get the maximum jobless benefits.
About 3,500 Minnesotans who are in the final seven weeks of their benefits will be affected by the change, which takes effect beginning Nov. 15, the state Department of Employment and Economic Development said in a news release.
Unemployment benefits typically are available for up to 26 weeks in Minnesota. But, various state and federal extensions have pushed the maximum amount to 79 weeks.
About 170,000 people are requesting unemployment insurance each week in Minnesota.