President Barack Obama’s has signed the bill that extends unemployment benefits for the over 2.5m Americans out of work.  The legislation today passed the House of Representatives  by a vote of 272-152, the day after it passed through the Senate. Through the bill, the cut off for benefits has been extended from June 2 to Nov. 30 and unemployed citizens will continue to receive payments for 73 weeks after that, for a total of 99 weeks of unemployment benefit. The new law works in concert with Home Affordable Unemployment Program, which gives qualified homeowners the ability to borrow up to $50,000 to assist them with their mortgage, provided that they have a reasonable prospect of resuming payments within 24 months. But is 99 weeks enough time to fill the unemployment gap?  U.S. economist Lawrence Souza told HousingWire in the upcoming print edition that the current state of unemployment is not going to be solved overnight. “It will be 2015 when full employment is achieved at 95 to 96% of the workforce,” said Souza. “Job growth is the number one variable that drives fundamental demand for commercial space, absorbtion, occupancy rate, rent growth and price appreciation.” The estimated cost surrounding the legislation is $34bn, one reason some in Congress were hesitant to vote it through.  But Obama argued that the bill had to be funded via deficit spending as it was an emergency measure to protect 9.5% of the United States’ population. The bill was sponsored by Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) and is titled the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 (download here). Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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