Part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” agreement included extending federal unemployment insurance (UI) for workers who have been jobless for more than 26 weeks.
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) details five ways extending UI benefits the economy.
Reauthorizing the Emergency Employment Compensation (EUC) program will:
1. Provide unemployment insurance for more than 2 million unemployed workers hunting for a new job and another 1 million in the first quarter of 2013. Jobless workers who receive unemployment insurance are more likely to be proactive in seeking work than those who do not receive it, devoting more hours to the job search.
2. Pump up to $30 billion into the national economy in 2013 and up to twice that in resultant economic activity. Unemployment insurance offers tremendous “bang for the buck” to the economy: every $1 the government spends on it creates $1.61 to $2 in economic stimulus—money that saves and creates jobs in communities across the country.
3. Reduce economic hardship. In 2011, unemployment insurance kept 2.3 million unemployed workers and their families out of poverty.
4. Help more workers stay attached to the labor market long enough to find employment with wages that they and their families can rely upon to live.
5. Deliver particularly crucial aid to African American and Latino workers, who continue to experience unemployment rates much higher than the rest of the workforce and older workers, who are disproportionately represented among the long-term unemployed.