As part of the National Evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program, this report provides information about the characteristics and early program experiences of workers eligible for TAA under the 2002 Trade Act. Information was collected via a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of workers in 26 states (covering 90 percent of TAA eligible workers). Interviews were conducted both with participants in TAA and with “nonparticipants” who were eligible for, but did not receive, TAA services or benefits.
Compared with other displaced manufacturing workers, TAA-eligible workers on average were more highly paid and were more likely to be full-time workers with long tenure at their previous job. Only half of TAA-eligible workers participated in the program with participation tending to be higher among women, older workers, and workers with less education. Almost all (98 percent) TAA participants received a Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) providing weekly income support, but only 60 percent of TAA participants enrolled in training. Receipt of the Health Coverage Tax Credit, a new provision under the 2002 Act, was uncommon. Only 14 percent of TAA participants used this credit. The participation rate was also low for another new component of the 2002 bill, the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) program, which provided a subsidy for individuals taking a job paying less than their former job. Only four percent of participants age 50 and older used ATAA, due primarily to difficulties in finding a job and its less attractive benefits as compared to TRA.