Unemployment Compensation

Archive Report

Recession's Impact on Programs

Adequacy of Jobless Benefits Questioned

One of the chief victims of the current economic slump may be the nation's 45-year-old system of unemployment compensation. Nearly 3.5 million persons received unemployment benefits in the week ending May 31, according to the Department of Labor, up from 3.28 million the previous week. Only 2.05 million persons collected jobless pay in the corresponding week of 1979. The added burden on state unemployment insurance trust funds is giving rise to demands that the federal government assume more responsibility for aiding the jobless.

Under the existing compensation program, federal and state governments split the cost of jobless benefits for up to 39 weeks per worker covered by unemployment insurance.1 The federal-state structure of the system has left the ...

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