With the state jobless rate at, by the latest numbers, 7.8% (in NYC, the rate is 8.1%) and prospects of an economic recovery slow at best, the NY Times reports, "Lawmakers in Albany agreed on Tuesday to change the state’s unemployment insurance system in order to prevent more than 100,000 New Yorkers from running out of jobless benefits starting later this month." The State Legislature must vote on the changes which "are intended to make New York eligible to collect $645 million in federal stimulus money for its unemployment insurance system. Most of that money — $370 million — would extend benefits to people who have been collecting unemployment pay for more than a year. The rest would go toward closing a gap in the state’s insolvent unemployment fund." Apparently Albany has given up on trying to revamp the entire system (which gives a max of $430/week in benefits, $150 less than states like NJ and Connecticut) in order to at least get the benefits extension done.