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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 3:11am

State Jobless Fund May Need Federal Loan

The state’s top labor official say a federal loan might be needed next month to keep Georgia’s unemployment insurance fund from drying-up.

State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond says a decision on whether to request a loan could be made in the next few weeks, depending on how quickly the benefits fund runs-out. Thurmond says the federal stimulus legislation allows for states to ask for an interest-free advance on jobless benefits funding.

One year ago, the state had $1-billion in the fund...that's now down to $139 million. Georgia has been averaging monthly payouts of $147 million to out-of-work Georgians.

Thurmond says the consideration of asking for a loan is a "clear indication of the deep and severe economic downturn" in the state.