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September 1995, Vol. 118, No. 9

Trends in unemployment insurance benefits

Daniel P. McMurrer and Amy B. Chasanov

T he Federal-State unemployment insurance (UI) system, created in 1935, was designed to provide temporary wage replacement for unemployed workers who have demonstrated a strong attachment to the labor force and to assist in stabilizing the national economy during cyclical economic downturns.

The nature of the system assigns different responsibilities to the Federal and State governments. Although broad Federal laws ensure consistency in areas where uniformity is considered essential, States determine most of the details of program operations and administration. As a result, many features of the system vary greatly among States.

Two separate, but interrelated, programs currently provide income support to qualified unemployed workers; the permanent, regular, State UI programs and the Federal-State Extended Benefits program. In addition, during every recession since 1958, emergency supplemental UI benefit programs have been enacted by Congress on an ad hoc basis. The characteristics of the three components of the UI system are discussed in more detail below.

This excerpt is from an article published in the September 1995 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.

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Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Unemployment insurance: measuring who receives it. July 1997.

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