December 2017 marked the ten-year anniversary of the beginning of the Great Recession. The federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) program played a vital role in stabilizing the nation’s economy during the Great Recession and beyond, but today, the UI system is in far worse shape than it was a decade ago. Although the unemployment rate is roughly the same that it was in 2007, before the recession began, the percentage of unemployed workers receiving unemployment insurance has dropped by a quarter, to a record low 27 percent.

In four new fact sheets aimed at advocates, policymakers, and program administrators, we address why so few jobless workers are receiving unemployment insurance as well as what states can do to reverse current trends and increase the percentage of unemployed workers who apply for and receive UI benefits: 

  1. Closing Doors—UI At a Glance: Maintain the 26 Week Maximum

  2. Closing Doors—UI at a Glance: Work Search Rules Should Be Positive, Not Punitive

  3. Closing Doors—UI at a Glance: Make UI More Accessible

  4. Closing Doors—UI at a Glance: Build UI Systems That Are Understandable and Accessible

These pieces are intended as companions to our December 2017 report, Closing Doors on the Unemployed: Why Most Jobless Workers Are Not Receiving Unemployment Insurance and What States Can Do About It.

The fact sheets are also available in one PDF at the link below. 


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