Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Research Report

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Performance since the Great Recession
February 27, 2018


This paper examines the recent decline in the benefit recipiency rate for state unemployment insurance (UI) programs (i.e., UI beneficiaries as share of total unemployment). From 2012 to 2016, the average benefit recipiency rate was about 25 percent below its average from 2004 to 2007. Three factors contributed to the reduced recipiency rate: (1) several states have shortened the maximum potential duration of benefits below 26 weeks, which has reduced average actual benefit duration; (2) state UI administrative decisions related to continued benefit eligibility have increased the number of beneficiary disqualifications; and (3) average unemployment duration has increased since 2008, increasing the number of people exhausting UI benefits and reducing the recipiency rate.

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