GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Montana Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy says 539 Montanans will lose their federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits Saturday after Congress failed to renew the program.

The Great Falls Tribune reports the unemployment program created in 2008 provided long-term jobless workers with up to 92 weeks of combined Montana and federal benefits.

Bucy says the impact will be felt less in Montana than other states because Montana has a comparatively low 5.2 unemployment rate.

Jeanie Trapp of the Great Falls-based nonprofit Opportunities Inc. says it's bad timing to have the federal program end near Christmas and during winter.

Montana Unemployment Insurance Division chief Rob Mulvaney says another 1,876 Montanans receive state unemployment insurance now and could later qualify for EUC benefits if Congress renews the program early next year.

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