Income in the Off-Season: Household Adaptation to Yearly Work Interruptions
Joblessness is highly seasonal. To analyze how households adapt to seasonal joblessness, we introduce a measure of seasonal work interruptions premised on the idea that a seasonal worker will tend to exit employment around the same time each year. We show that an excess share of prime-age US workers experience recurrent separations spaced exactly 12 months apart. These separations coincide with aggregate seasonal downturns and are concentrated in seasonally volatile industries. Examining workers most prone to seasonal work interruptions, we find that these workers incur large earnings losses ...
Reservation Benefits: Assessing job acceptance impacts of increased UI payments
Job acceptance decisions weigh the value of an entire job spell relative to remaining unemployed. There exists a reservation level of beneﬁt payments in this dynamic decision problem at which an individual is indifferent between accepting and refusing an offer. This reservation beneﬁt is a simple statistic to test the job acceptance deterrence effects of current unemployment insurance (UI) payments, summarizing the decision problem conditional on the believed state of the labor market and the weeks of UI compensation remaining. Estimating the reservation beneﬁt for a wide range of US ...
Unemployment Insurance during a Pandemic
The CARES Act implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis dramatically increased the generosity of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, triggering concerns about substantial effects on unemployment. This paper combines a labor market search-matching model with the SIR-type infection dynamics to study the effects of the CARES Act UI on both unemployment and infection. More generous UI policies create work disincentives and lead to higher unemployment but also reduce infection and save lives. Economic shutdown policies further amplify these effects of UI policies. Quantitatively, the CARES ...
Commentary on The recession of 2001 and unemployment insurance financing
Proceedings of a Conference Cosponsored by the Canadian Consulate General in New York, the Centre for the Study of Living Standards, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the New York Association for Business Economics.
Rethinking the value of initial claims as a forecasting tool
The weekly numbers on initial claims for unemployment insurance convey key information about the labor market. But how reliable are claims in predicting changes in the much anticipated monthly employment report? According to a simple forecasting model, claims consistently send an accurate signal about employment during recessions but not during expansions.
When the tide goes out: unemployment insurance trust funds and the Great Recession, lessons for and from New England
The unemployment insurance (UI) program is a federal-state program aiming to: (1) provide temporary, partial compensation for the lost earnings of individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own and (2) serve as a stabilizer during economic downturns by injecting additional resources into the economy in the form of benefit payments. Each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, operates its own UI program within federal guidelines. ; Since the onset of the Great Recession in late 2007, two-thirds of state UI programs depleted their trust funds ...
Unemployment insurance policy in New England: background and issues
Almost two-thirds of the states, and all the New England states except New Hampshire, have exhausted their unemployment insurance trust fund and borrowed from the federal government at least once during the past 35 years. Under such circumstances, states are required by law to raise unemployment insurance taxes in order to replenish their trust funds and to pay off their debts to the federal government. Since higher unemployment insurance taxes increase employer costs, replenishment forces states into a trade-off between economic competitiveness and trust fund adequacy. In recent years, ...
New ways of evaluating state unemployment insurance
Comparisons among state unemployment insurance systems can be misleading. Frequently quoted indicators of the generosity of their benefits, competitiveness, and adherence to the experience-rating principal are influenced by states' relative economic conditions, thereby obscuring underlying structural differences. Moreover, because the indicators are statewide averages, they obscure important intrastate differences in tax and benefit treatment across types of firms and workers. This article offers alternative indicators based on a simulation approach designed to alleviate these problems. The ...