Speeding the Recovery of Unemployment Insurance

The Century Foundation

Unemployment insurance (UI) is the nation’s first responder to economic distress. UI benefits make up for lost consumer demand, and this stimulus was credited with saving 1.75 million jobs during the Great Recession. 1 In 2014 alone, 800,000 families used UI to make sure the shock of a layoff was not turned into the crisis of poverty. These crucial benefits for our economy and for families depend on adequate financing.

UI is set up as a system of public social insurance funded by designated premiums, with states primarily responsible for setting UI taxes and maintaining an adequate trust fund. This report outlines the unprecedented strains facing that system and recommends a series of reforms to put UI back on a path to forward funding.
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