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Falling unemployment fund levels won't stop benefits say officials

State officials say no one will lose their unemployment benefits as the fund that provides those payments keeps dropping.

It was learned a few weeks ago that the fund could run dry early next year.

Now, folks are even more concerned after Monday's announcement that General Motors will stop making full-size SUV's in Janesville two days before Christmas.

Richard Jones of the workforce development agency says the unemployment fund now has $369 million, down from a high of $558 million this year.

And new benefit applications are 13 percent higher than 2007.

Jones says the fund will cover all jobless benefits at least through the end of the year.

The state can then borrow from the federal government. But that could be avoided if a scheduled employer tax increase takes effect in time.

Employers now pay unemployment taxes on the first $10,500 of each worker's wages. That will go up to $12,000 next year.

The last time the state borrowed to cover unemployment benefits was 1982. The feds loaned $737 million, and it took seven years to pay it all back.