Expanding Unemployment Insurance
Abstract: As unemployment surged during the 2007-2009 recession, individuals who lost jobs turned to unemployment insurance (UI) for support. In normal times, states provide up to 26 weeks of UI benefits funded by a tax on employers. On average, these benefits replace about half of a worker's previous weekly wages. Since the 1970s, states and the federal government have also shared the cost of providing an additional 13 or 20 weeks of benefits to states with exceptionally high unemployment. During the last recession, the federal government took on 100 percent of the cost of these emergency benefits. Congress also enacted a series of additional extensions based on individual state unemployment rates. The combined programs meant that unemployed workers in many states could receive an unprecedented 99 weeks of UI benefits between 2009 and 2012 (see chart).
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Description: Full text
Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Part of Series: Econ Focus
Publication Date: 2014