On GAO Report on Better Targeting Reemployment Services to Jobseekers

Following is a statement by Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project:

“Today, the Government Accountability Office issued an important report highlighting the need to ensure proper targeting of reemployment services for jobseekers. NELP strongly supports GAO’s recommendations that the Department of Labor further investigate the kinds of “profiling” systems that states use to identify unemployment insurance claimants who are most likely to exhaust their benefits and need assistance returning to work, and subsequently issue updated guidance to determine benefits and how best to target claimants most in need of services.

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“GAO’s initial findings indicate that while reemployment services in general are currently effective, targeting systems in states vary widely. Lacking clear guidance on how to shape profiling systems, states run the risk of improperly identifying claimants to receive services, and in some instances disqualifying those workers from unemployment insurance. This not only fails to make the best use of public funds, but undermines the program’s goal of prioritizing services to those who need them most. Profiling systems should be carefully calibrated to identify workers who are most likely to exhaust their unemployment insurance without some form of reemployment assistance.

“Finally, the GAO reports that states do not uniformly track funds spent on various reemployment services. While spending transparency is a public good in itself, better accounting of expenditures will also help analysts understand which interventions have the best return on investment.”

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