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Series # :
  OWSOP 99-6
Title :
  An Analysis of Unemployment Insurance Durations Since the 1990-1992 Recession
Release Date :
Abstract :
  The average duration of insured unemployment has remained high since the end of the most recent recession, despite lower unemployment rates generally. Overall, the estimates presented in this report suggest that average durations increased by between 1.1 and 1.4 weeks in the post-1992 period relative to what might have been predicted based on historical data. This figure represents approximately a nine percent increase in the average duration for which unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are paid. Increased average UI durations may be of concern to policymakers, for several reasons. To the extent that they represent increasing labor market difficulties that specific types of workers are facing, increasing average durations may suggest the need for new labor market initiatives to help those workers find new jobs. The increases may also reflect hardships that certain categories of unemployed workers are facing, even in the current ?full-employment? economy. Policymakers may wish to consider ways in which UI policy (or, possibly, other income maintenance policy) might be adjusted to meet these needs. Finally, because increased in average UI durations imply increased aggregate levels of benefit payment under the program, these findings may raise concern about the adequacy of current UI trust fund levels. The present report, however, focuses primarily on identifying the reasons that average UI durations have increased relative to historical norms without explicitly addressing these larger policy concerns.

Publication Author(s)
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
  • W. Nicholson
Full Text Document(s)
Additional Information

Hard copy available: No