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A Comparative Analysis of Unemployment Insurance Financing Methods (Final Report)

Release Date

Jan 31, 2018

Publication Author(s)

  • The Urban Institute
  • Elaine Maag
  • Wayne Vroman
  • W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
  • Christopher O'Leary
  • Stephen Woodbury

Research Methodology

  • Technical Assistance


  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Wagner-Peyser/Employment Service (ES) Program

States & Territories

  • All US States and Territories


This report was prepared for use by states interested in assessing their current system of unemployment insurance (UI) program financing, and understanding, exploring and modeling alternative financing arrangements. This Financing Guide has been developed with two primary goals in mind. The first goal is to serve as a "how to" document, with a significant focus on demonstrating for the reader how to implement common and alternative benefit financing mechanisms. The second goal is to describe current practices, review recent state financing experiences, and identify detailed tax provisions and administrative procedures associated with adequate levels of financing. The UI financing systems in the states are highly diverse and complicated, and they must also adhere to a series of Federally-mandated rules. Individual chapters of the Financing Guide focus on different aspects of this system and provide in-depth examples, analyses, and discussions about different elements of the system as well as the Federal requirements.

Final Report