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HIGH POINT, NC — In 18 days, approximately 87,000 people statewide and more than 10,000 people in the Piedmont will lose federal unemployment benefits.

In March, Congress decided those extended federal benefits would expire on December 29, 2012, regardless of how long beneficiaries had been receiving money.

According to the Department of Commerce, in Guilford County, 4,912 will no longer receive federal unemployment benefits.

3,016 in Forsyth County, 1,500 in Davidson County, and 1,240 in Alamance County will as well.

In total, more than $3 million dollars in weekly benefits will go away for those four counties.

The Department of Commerce said approximately 87,000 people statewide will lose the benefits, meaning a loss of $25.4 million weekly to local economies across the state.

Ikel Williams with the Department of Workforce Solutions in High Point said those losing benefits will be those who’ve been looking the longest.

“The long-term unemployed, yes. Those benefits will cease,” Williams said.

Williams noted that the job assistance programs provided by his office like job placement and resume workshops will continue to be available for free.

“Congress is going to do what Congress is going to do. All we can do is keep helping the people that come to us get back employed as soon as possible,” Williams said.

Larry Parker with the Division of Employment Security said this issue is completely unrelated to the $2.5 billion the state of North Carolina owes to the federal government for unemployment.