HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut’s falling unemployment rate is having the unintended consequence of leaving many out of work with fewer unemployment benefits.

Unemployment dipped in March to 7.7 percent, the lowest in three years.

Currently, 26 weeks of state benefits and 47 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation are available to those eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. But because of the relatively low unemployment rate, Connecticut will no longer be eligible to provide seven of the 20 weeks of extended benefits.

The state Department of Labor estimates that by the end of the year, 75,000 people will be unemployed long-term and will have exhausted their benefits.

By the end of 2012, about 17,500 unemployed people will no longer receive extended benefits.

State officials say they are developing a plan to help those whose unemployment benefits are cut short.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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