Disadvantaged Workers and the Unemployment Insurance Program

Brief

Disadvantaged Workers and the Unemployment Insurance Program

July 23, 2012

Abstract

The unemployment insurance system is composed of state programs guided by broad federal principles, with funding and eligibility rules left to the states. The participation of employers injects a good deal of contentiousness and errors, while the principle of "no fault of their own" limits the eligibility of many workers who separate from their jobs for family and health reasons or because their temporary job ended. This system leaves many disadvantaged workers behind to the extent that only between 10 and 36 percent of unemployed workers with labor market disadvantages collected benefits in 2010, in comparison to 69 percent of non-disadvantaged workers.

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