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Unemployment Insurance

Friday, March 19, 2021

Pathways to Economic Security: Conference Recap and Takeaways

Emphasizing stakeholder voices and new partnerships

The Academy’s 33rd annual policy conference, Pathways to Economic Security: Bringing All Voices to the Table, was held virtually on March 2-4, 2021. Stakeholders' perspectives led policy conversations around economic security throughout the keynotes, panel dialogues, and workshops.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Initial meetings of Unemployment Insurance Task Force highlight concerns about the disproportionate share of women and workers of color in precarious jobs

Elaine Weiss, Director of Policy

Image Source: How the American Unemployment System FailedNew York Times;  Data: Stephen Wandner, National Academy of Social Insurance and Christopher O’Leary, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

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Friday, June 19, 2020

How the Unemployment Insurance system is failing workers of color

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst for Income Security

The protests sweeping the United States (and cities around the world) over the past couple of weeks reflect not just rightful outrage over the heinous murders of George Floyd and others. They are the product of pent-up rage at systemic disparities that make daily life unstable, undignified, and unsafe for people and communities of color. 

As we at the Academy grapple with how our work has sought to help reduce these disparities, and how we have fallen short, the most recent data on joblessness and poverty trends shine a spotlight on both, illuminating the urgent work ahead of us.

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Unemployment Insurance Benefit Adequacy and Recipiency Report

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst for Income Security

State Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs support individual workers between jobs and serve an important role in supporting the economy as a whole during downturns. However, they have been eroding for several decades, handicapping their capacity to fulfill these important roles. Unfortunately, neither state agencies nor the federal government responded to the alarm bells being sounded by researchers and advocates until the COVID-19 pandemic put them in stark relief for all to see.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

COVID-19 pandemic spotlights both critical importance of and structural gaps in Unemployment Insurance

Robert Pavosevich, Office of Workforce Security, Department of Labor (Former)

Stephen Wandner, Senior Fellow, National Academy of Social Insurance

Elaine Weiss, Lead Policy Analyst for Income Security, National Academy of Social Insurance

Researchers have been sounding the alarm about weaknesses in our Unemployment Insurance (UI) program for many years. Unfortunately, it has taken a pandemic for state governments and Congress to pay attention. As a result, this core social insurance program will not be able to perform its key functions – supporting individual workers and their families in challenging times and acting as a financial cushion – to full effect. Workers, especially the most vulnerable ones, will suffer more harm than they should in the coming months, and the nation’s economy will not receive the much-needed boost it could and should have.

The good news is that we have a unique opportunity at this moment, when Congress is exploring and enacting a broad range of policy responses to the COVID-19 crisis, to not only provide temporary emergency UI benefits, but to shore up and reform the program in several key ways.

The Erosion of UI

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