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entitled 'Unemployment Insurance: Better Data Needed to Assess 
Reemployment Services to Claimants' which was released on June 24, 
2005. 

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Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on 
Ways and Means, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

June 2005: 

Unemployment Insurance: 

Better Data Needed to Assess Reemployment Services to Claimants: 

GAO-05-413: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-05-413, a report to Chairman, Subcommittee on Human 
Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

With unemployed workers at a greater risk of long-term unemployment 
than in the past, it is increasingly important to quickly connect 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants with reemployment activities. 
However, the shift to remote claims filing in many states has raised 
concerns about maintaining a connection between the UI program and 
reemployment services. This report examines (1) the extent to which 
states have shifted to remote claims filing and how they are making 
claimants aware of program requirements and services, (2) what states 
are doing to facilitate reemployment of UI claimants, and (3) what is 
known about the extent to which UI claimants receive reemployment 
services and about their outcomes. 

What GAO Found: 

Nearly all states accept most initial UI claims remotely by telephone, 
the Internet, or both. Even though claimants filing remotely no longer 
have face-to-face contact with UI staff at the time the claim is filed, 
all states told us they have found ways to provide information on 
eligibility requirements and reemployment services to individuals 
filing claims, such as by including this information in the scripts 
used by claims takers at UI call centers or as documents on Web pages. 
Officials from most states told us the shift to remote claims has not 
diminished their ability to provide information or deliver services to 
claimants. In fact, some report that this shift may have improved their 
ability to serve their customers. 

Across states, claimants have access to a variety of reemployment 
services, and states make use of UI program requirements to connect 
claimants with available services at various points in their claim. All 
federally approved state UI programs require that claimants be able and 
available to work, and in many states these requirements also serve to 
link claimants to reemployment services. States also engage some 
claimants in reemployment services through programs that identify 
certain groups for more targeted assistance. States primarily target 
reemployment services to claimants identified as most likely to exhaust 
their UI benefits before finding work, through federally required 
claimant profiling programs. 

Little is known about the extent to which claimants receive services 
from the broad array of programs designed to assist them or about the 
outcomes they achieve. States must meet a number of federal reporting 
requirements for their UI and employment and training programs, but 
none of these reports provides a complete picture of the services 
received or the outcomes obtained by UI claimants. GAO also found that 
few states monitor the extent to which claimants are receiving these 
services, and even fewer monitor outcomes for these claimants, largely 
due to limited information systems capabilities. Labor has some 
initiatives that may begin to shed light on claimant services and 
outcomes, but none will provide a complete picture. 

Nearly All States Accept Initial UI Claims Remotely: 

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that the Department of Labor work with states to 
consider the feasibility of collecting more comprehensive information 
on UI claimants' services and outcomes. Labor generally agreed with 
GAO’s findings, but took issue with the need for more comprehensive 
data, commenting that, in its view, current and planned data collection 
efforts will provide sufficient information to policy makers. However, 
none of Labor’s efforts provide a complete picture of UI claimants’ 
services and outcomes, which is key to good program management and is 
an important step in understanding the impact of Labor’s programs. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-413. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Sigurd Nilsen, (202) 512-
7215, nilsens@gao.gov. 

[End of section]

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

Most States Have Shifted to Taking Claims Remotely, and All States 
Provide Claimants with Information on Their Obligations and Available 
Reemployment Services: 

States Provide Claimants Access to a Range of Reemployment Services and 
Use UI Program Requirements to Connect Them with Available Services: 

Little Information Exists to Provide a Complete Picture of Reemployment 
Services for Unemployment Insurance Claimants: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Appendix II: States That Accept Telephone and Internet Claims Remotely: 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Labor: 

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Related GAO Products: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Summary of Data Reporting Requirements and Their Limitations 
for Measuring Overall Claimant Services and Outcomes: 

Table 2: States Selected for Site Visits: 

Table 3: Local Workforce Areas Selected for Site Visits: 

Table 4: States That Accept Telephone and Internet Claims Remotely: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Most States Take Initial UI Claims Remotely: 

Figure 2: Most States Reported It Was Difficult to Track Claimant 
Services across the Broad Array of Federal Employment and Training 
Programs: 

Figure 3: Reasons States Said Tracking Client Services Was Difficult: 

Figure 4: States' Assessment of How Difficult It Would Be to Track 
Outcomes for Claimants Who Received Services: 

Abbreviations: 

ADARE: Administrative Data Research and Evaluation: 

CATI: Computer-assisted telephone interview: 

EMILE: Employment and Training Administration Management Information 
and Longitudinal Evaluation: 

ETA: Employment and Training Administration: 

JTPA: Job Training Partnership Act: 

TAA: Trade Adjustment Assistance: 

TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: 

TAPR: Trade Act Participant Report: 

UI: Unemployment Insurance: 

WIA: Workforce Investment Act: 

WIASRD WIA Standardized Record Data: 

WPRS: Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

Washington, DC 20548: 

June 24, 2005: 

The Honorable Wally Herger: 
Chairman: 
Subcommittee on Human Resources: 
Committee on Ways and Means: 
United States House of Representatives: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

Over the past several decades, both the U.S. economy and its workforce 
have undergone substantial changes. Unemployed workers are now less 
likely to be rehired by their previous employers and are at greater 
risk of long-term unemployment than in the past. Over the past five 
decades, the average duration of unemployment has been gradually 
increasing, so that during 2002 periods of unemployment grew to an 
average of 16.6 weeks, compared with 11.3 weeks during the 
1950s.[Footnote 1] To assist workers who have lost their jobs, the 
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program provided about $35 billion in 
temporary income support in calendar year 2004. The cost of providing 
this income support, coupled with a growing trend toward longer-term 
unemployment, increases the importance of quickly linking UI claimants 
to the tools they need to become reemployed. 

To be eligible for income support under the UI program, claimants must 
meet a federal requirement to be able to work and available for work. 
Traditionally, claimants were required to apply for benefits in person 
at an unemployment office, and information on available jobs and what 
they must do to remain eligible for benefits was often given to them as 
part of that process. However, over time many states have transitioned 
to the remote filing of UI claims--primarily by telephone or the 
Internet--and claimants have less face-to-face contact with staff. The 
shift to remote claims filing has raised concerns about maintaining a 
connection between the UI program and reemployment services. 

At the same time, the workforce development system--responsible for 
helping these workers become reemployed--has undergone reform. With the 
passage of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in 1998, services for 
over 17 different federally funded programs have been streamlined into 
a single service delivery structure, the one-stop system, and a broad 
range of services are made available to anyone who walks through the 
door. To be able to make these services available to all who seek them, 
state and local officials have begun to rely more heavily on self-
directed services, such as allowing job seekers to use available 
Internet capabilities to conduct online job searches or to use 
available computers to develop resumes without staff assistance. This 
shift in service delivery strategy has raised concerns that some UI 
claimants may not be receiving enough information on reemployment 
services or timely assistance to help them find a job, and little is 
known about whether states have policies in place to help unemployed 
workers quickly become reemployed. 

To address these issues, we examined (1) the extent to which states 
have shifted to remote methods for filing initial claims and how they 
are making claimants aware of their responsibilities to look for work 
and the services available to assist them, (2) what states are doing to 
facilitate the reemployment of UI claimants, and (3) what is known 
about the extent to which UI claimants receive reemployment services 
and about the outcomes of claimants who receive these services. 

To learn more about the strategies implemented by state and local 
officials to promote participation in activities that may assist 
claimants in getting a job, we conducted telephone interviews with UI 
and workforce development officials in 50 states. For purposes of this 
review, we defined reemployment services to mean all reemployment 
activities funded through Wagner-Peyser; WIA Adult and Dislocated 
Worker services; any other training or job search assistance provided 
using federal funds, such as Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA); and any 
state-funded reemployment or training services. We supplemented the 
phone interviews with a follow-up questionnaire to gather information 
on the strategies states use to collect data on UI claimants who 
receive reemployment services.[Footnote 2] In addition, we conducted 
site visits to four states--Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, and 
Washington--chosen to give us a range of unemployment rates, 
dislocation activity, and experiences implementing remote claims, and 
to allow for geographic dispersion. On our site visits, we interviewed 
state officials in the workforce development system and UI programs and 
visited at least two local areas in each state, selected to provide a 
range of urban and rural sites. In addition, we reviewed documents and 
interviewed Department of Labor (Labor) officials and other experts in 
the area of UI and reemployment services. For details about our scope 
and methodology, see appendix I. Our work was conducted between 
February 2004 and May 2005, in accordance with generally accepted 
government auditing standards. 

Results in Brief: 

Nearly all states have shifted to accepting most of their initial 
claims for unemployment insurance remotely by telephone or Internet, 
and states employ a variety of methods to make claimants aware of their 
responsibilities and the services available to them, often beginning at 
the time the claim is filed. Of the 44 states whose officials told us 
they currently accept initial claims by telephone or Internet, 29 
states use both methods. Of the 6 states that do not currently accept 
remote claims, 3 said they plan to do so in the future. The remaining 3 
states still require claimants to file for unemployment insurance in 
person. Even though claimants filing remotely may not have face-to-face 
contact with UI staff at the time the claim is filed, all states told 
us they have methods for providing information on eligibility 
requirements and reemployment services to individuals filing initial 
claims. For example, officials in Washington say that call center staff 
tell claimants of their responsibility to search for work and the 
penalty for failure to do so, and they direct them to the nearest one-
stop center for assistance. In addition, most states that accept remote 
claims also mail claimants information on their responsibilities and 
available services. Some officials told us that rather than diminishing 
their ability to provide information on reemployment services to 
claimants, the shift to remote claims had improved services to 
claimants and helped ensure that they received consistent information 
about available services. 

Across states, UI claimants have access to a variety of reemployment 
services, and states make use of UI program requirements to connect 
claimants with available services at various points in their claim. In 
all states, claimants may receive services available to all job seekers 
through the one-stop system, and in some states, claimants may also 
receive services provided through special state initiatives. In 
satisfying the requirement that claimants be able and available for 
work, officials in 44 states told us claimants are required to register 
for work with the state's labor exchange, which provides services 
matching job seekers with employers. In all but one state, claimants 
must also meet a work search requirement to maintain their eligibility 
for unemployment insurance and avoid a potential loss of benefits. In 
many states, these requirements also serve to link claimants to 
reemployment services. For example, states may require claimants to 
come into a local employment service office or one-stop center to 
complete the work registration process. Interviews, which are often 
used to check whether or not claimants are conducting a job search that 
meets the state's requirements, may also include suggestions on 
reemployment services or job search strategies. States also engage some 
claimants in reemployment services directly through programs that 
identify certain groups for more targeted assistance. The federal 
requirement of claimant profiling--a process that identifies those most 
likely to exhaust their benefits before finding work--is the primary 
mechanism for targeting reemployment services to claimants in many 
states. 

Despite states' efforts to design systems that link UI claimants to 
reemployment services, little data are available to gauge the extent to 
which claimants are receiving these services or about the outcomes they 
achieve. States must meet a number of federal reporting requirements 
for their UI programs and for their federally funded employment and 
training programs, but none of these reports provides a complete 
picture of the services received or the outcomes obtained by all UI 
claimants. For example, states must report on services provided to 
profiled claimants, but there is no report of services provided to all 
claimants. Further, states report on several measures of performance 
for their UI programs, but these measures do not currently provide any 
reemployment information, instead focusing largely on benefit and tax 
timeliness, quality, and accuracy. In our telephone interviews and 
surveys to states on their efforts to track claimants, we found that 
only 14 states currently go beyond the federal requirements to monitor 
how many claimants are receiving services from the range of federally 
funded programs that are designed to assist them, and only 6 monitor 
any outcomes for these claimants. Most states told us that the data 
elements needed to perform these calculations reside in separate, often 
incompatible, data systems, and they are unable to readily link them. 
Labor has some initiatives that may begin to shed light on claimant 
services and outcomes. For example, Labor is revising the UI 
performance measures and, in the summer of 2005, will begin requiring 
states to track a reemployment rate for all of their claimants. In 
addition, Labor's Administrative Data Research and Evaluation program, 
currently under way, will provide third-party researchers with detailed 
data from 9 states on participants in several programs, allowing 
researchers for the first time to track UI claimants' participation in 
a broad array of programs and to measure some of their outcomes. While 
these initiatives provide more information than is currently available, 
none allows for a comprehensive nationwide understanding of the role of 
federal programs in helping claimants become reemployed. 

To improve the understanding of claimants' use of services and of their 
outcomes, we recommend that the Secretary of Labor work with states to 
develop a plan for considering the feasibility of collecting more 
comprehensive service and outcome information, including the length of 
time claimants receive UI before they are reemployed. In its written 
comments, Labor generally agreed with our findings, but took issue with 
the need for more comprehensive data, commenting that, in its view, 
current reporting requirements in addition to new initiatives will 
provide sufficient information to policy makers. However, as we noted, 
none of Labor's efforts provide a complete picture of UI claimants' 
services and outcomes. Having such a picture is key to good program 
management and is an important step in understanding the impact of 
Labor's programs. 

Background: 

The UI program was established by Title III of the Social Security Act 
in 1935 and is a key component in ensuring the financial security of 
America's workforce. The program, which is administered by the states 
with oversight from Labor's Employment and Training Administration 
(ETA), provides temporary cash benefits to workers who lose their jobs 
through no fault of their own. Today UI coverage is nearly universal, 
extending to almost all wage and salaried workers.[Footnote 3] To help 
claimants become reemployed, employment and training assistance is 
provided through a number of federal programs, including Wagner-Peyser 
Employment Service, WIA Adult, WIA Dislocated Worker, and TAA programs. 

Unemployment Insurance--Structure of the Program: 

The UI program is funded by federal and state taxes levied on 
employers. The states collect the portion of the tax needed to pay UI 
benefits, while the federal tax finances state and federal 
administrative costs and other related federal costs. Labor holds these 
funds in trust on behalf of the states in the Unemployment Trust Fund. 
In fiscal year 2004, Congress authorized about $2.6 billion to states 
to administer their programs. 

Labor is responsible for overseeing the UI program to ensure that the 
states operate an effective and efficient UI program. Labor is also 
responsible for monitoring state operations and procedures, providing 
technical assistance and training, as well as analyzing UI program data 
to diagnose potential problems. Although Labor provides oversight and 
guidance to ensure that each state operates its program consistent with 
federal guidelines, the federal-state structure of UI places primary 
responsibility for administering the program on the states. The states 
have wide latitude to administer their UI programs in a manner that 
best suits their needs within these guidelines. 

States establish initial eligibility requirements to determine which 
unemployed workers are qualified to start collecting UI benefits. These 
requirements seek to ensure that an unemployed worker has had 
sufficient employment experience to qualify for UI benefits (known as 
the monetary eligibility requirements), and to determine whether the 
worker lost the job through no fault of his or her own (the nonmonetary 
eligibility requirements). State claims representatives are responsible 
for determining each claimant's initial eligibility for UI benefits by 
gathering and (when possible) verifying important information, such as 
identity, employment history, why the claimants is no longer working, 
and other sources of income the claimant may have. Once the claim has 
been submitted for processing, the state sends forms to the claimant's 
employer(s) requesting them to verify the claimant's wages and the 
reason the claimant is no longer working. If the individual's claim for 
UI is approved, the state then determines the amount of UI benefits, 
depending on the individual's earnings during the period upon which the 
claim is based and other factors. In general, most states are expected 
to provide the first benefits to the claimant within 21 days of the 
date the state determined that the claimant was entitled to benefits. 

In order to remain eligible for benefits on a continuing basis, 
claimants must also demonstrate that they are able to work and 
available for work and are still unemployed. Claimants must submit this 
certification of continuing eligibility--by mail, telephone, or 
Internet, depending on the state--throughout the benefit period. This 
practice is usually done weekly or biweekly. States may continue to 
monitor claimant eligibility through an eligibility review program, in 
which certain claimants are periodically contacted to review their 
eligibility for benefits, work search activities, and reemployment 
needs. Typically, the maximum duration of benefits is 26 weeks. 

Claimant Profiling in the Unemployment Insurance Program: 

In November 1993, Congress enacted legislation amending the Social 
Security Act to require that each state establish a Worker Profiling 
and Reemployment Services (WPRS) system and implement a process 
typically referred to as claimant profiling. The claimant profiling 
process uses a statistical model or characteristics screen to identify 
claimants who are likely to exhaust their UI benefits before finding 
work. Claimants identified through this process are then referred to 
reemployment services while they are still early in their claim. For 
profiled claimants, participation in designated reemployment services 
becomes an additional requirement for continuing eligibility for UI 
benefits. 

To assist states in implementing WPRS, Labor developed a prototype 
model for determining the probability that claimants will exhaust their 
benefits based on a set of five claimant characteristics: education, 
job tenure, industry, occupation, and the local unemployment rate. 
While some states have included only these five variables in their 
profiling models, others have used this prototype as a benchmark and 
have included additional variables, such as the claimant's pre-
unemployment earnings, weekly benefit amount, UI wage replacement rate, 
potential duration of UI benefits, delay in filing, and the ratio of 
quarterly earnings to earnings in the base year. 

Reemployment Services for Unemployment Insurance Claimants: 

Reemployment services for UI claimants are usually delivered by a range 
of federally funded employment and training programs, often through 
consolidated service delivery structures called one-stop centers. When 
it was passed in 1998, the WIA began requiring that about 17 federal 
employment and training programs, including UI, provide services 
through the one-stop system. WIA allows local areas considerable 
flexibility in how these programs provide services through the system, 
so the degree of connection throughout the one-stop system between UI 
and other workforce programs can vary widely by state and local area. 
Among the many federal workforce programs that may provide reemployment 
services to UI claimants, four programs funded by Labor are most likely 
to serve UI claimants: Employment Service, WIA Adult program, WIA 
Dislocated Worker program, and TAA. All four of these are required to 
be part of the one-stop system, and each has its own performance 
reporting requirements. 

Employment Service. The Employment Service was created in 1933 by the 
Wagner-Peyser Act, making labor exchange services--that link job 
seekers with job opportunities--universally available to employers and 
job seekers alike without charges or conditions. Historically, many 
states colocated local Employment Service and UI offices so that when 
UI claimants applied for benefits at Employment Service offices, they 
would be exposed to employment services. Today, states' labor exchanges 
typically involve online databases where job seekers can look for work 
and apply for jobs, and where employers can post jobs and recruit 
employees. In addition, Employment Service offers a range of services 
to job seekers, including job search assistance, job referral, 
placement assistance, assessment, counseling, and testing. Employment 
Service also offers a number of services to employers, including taking 
job orders, recruitment, screening, referrals of job seekers, assisting 
with job restructuring, and helping employers manage layoffs. 

WIA Adult and WIA Dislocated Worker Programs. When WIA was enacted in 
1998, it replaced the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) programs for 
economically disadvantaged adults and youth and for dislocated workers 
with three new programs--WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth--that 
provide a broader range of services to the general public, no longer 
using income to determine eligibility for all program services. WIA 
programs provide for three tiers, or levels, of service for adults and 
dislocated workers: core, intensive, and training. Core services 
include basic services such as job searches and labor market 
information. These activities may be self-service or require some staff 
assistance. Intensive services include such activities as comprehensive 
assessment and case management--activities that require greater staff 
involvement. Training services include such activities as occupational 
skills or on-the-job training. Labor's guidance provides for monitoring 
and tracking of performance for the adult and dislocated worker 
programs to begin when job seekers receive core services that require 
significant staff assistance. WIA currently excludes job seekers who 
receive core services that are self-service and informational in nature 
from being included in the performance measures. 

Trade Adjustment Assistance. To assist workers who are laid off as a 
result of international trade, the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 created 
the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. Historically, the primary 
benefits available through the program have been extended income 
support and training. Participants are generally entitled to income 
support, but the amount of funds available for training is limited by 
statute. Congress has amended the TAA program a number of times since 
its inception. Amendments to the TAA program in the TAA Reform Act of 
2002 extended income support to 78 weeks after exhausting UI benefits 
(plus 26 more weeks if participating in and completing remedial 
training) and added new health coverage assistance and wage insurance 
benefits for older workers.[Footnote 4]

Other Funds to Support Reemployment Services: 

To promote reemployment through the one-stop system, Congress 
appropriated $35 million a year beginning in 2001 for Reemployment 
Services Grants specifically to provide reemployment services for UI 
claimants. Each year Labor has provided a minimum of $215,000 to each 
state, with the remainder of the $35 million distributed according to 
the share of each state's first payments to UI claimants in the 
previous fiscal year. These funds are authorized under Wagner-Peyser, 
and services are generally delivered by state Employment Service staff. 
Labor issued guidance to the states to use the funds to enhance the 
quality and quantity of services that UI claimants receive within the 
one-stop system, encouraging states to use the funds to provide direct 
services to UI claimants. 

Most States Have Shifted to Taking Claims Remotely, and All States 
Provide Claimants with Information on Their Obligations and Available 
Reemployment Services: 

Nearly all states accept most initial UI claims remotely by telephone, 
Internet, or both. Even though claimants filing remotely no longer have 
face-to-face contact with UI staff at the time the claim is filed, all 
states told us they have found ways to provide information on 
eligibility requirements and reemployment services to individuals 
filing initial claims, often beginning at the time the claim is filed. 
Most states told us that the shift to remote claims did not diminish 
their ability to provide information on reemployment services to 
claimants and, in some cases, had improved customer service and helped 
ensure that claimants received consistent information. 

Most States Accept Initial UI Claims by Telephone or Internet: 

Forty-four states accept initial claims for unemployment insurance by 
telephone[Footnote 5] or the Internet,[Footnote 6] based on our 
telephone interviews with state officials. Of these states, 29 use both 
remote filing methods, while 10 accept claims only over the telephone 
and 5 take them only by Internet (see fig. 1). In most states with 
telephone claims, claimants speak with customer service 
representatives, although in 6 states claimants may use an automated 
voice response system to complete their claim.[Footnote 7] In some 
states with such automated systems, it is possible for a claimant to 
file an initial claim without speaking to anyone. However, if problems 
occur during the process, callers can be transferred to remote claims 
centers where a service representative works with them to complete the 
claim. Of the 6 states that did not accept remote claims, 3 said they 
plan to begin accepting initial claims by Internet or telephone in the 
future. The remaining 3 states still require claimants to file for 
unemployment insurance in person. For example, Georgia officials told 
us that they do not currently allow claimants to file initial UI claims 
remotely, preferring instead to have claimants file in person at 
workforce centers,[Footnote 8] where they typically file their claims 
using the state's private computer network. (See app. II for more 
information on which states take initial UI claims remotely by 
telephone or Internet.)

Figure 1: Most States Take Initial UI Claims Remotely: 

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

In addition to accepting initial claims by telephone or Internet, some 
states also reported using other remote filing methods. Officials in 
several states told us that they accept claims submitted directly by 
employers, but the role of employer-filed claims differs from state to 
state. For example, Michigan officials told us they had established an 
employer-filed claim process in which employers with more than 1,000 
layoffs in 3 consecutive years must file employee claims 
electronically. With an employer-filed claim, the claimant is not 
involved in filing the initial claim but still must certify and file 
for continuing claims. State officials told us that these claims 
simplify the filing process in cases of large layoffs and help workers 
receive their UI benefit checks more quickly. They said their goal was 
to have 20 to 25 percent of all initial claims filed through this 
method. In general, however, employer-filed claims are used for mass 
layoffs or seasonal shutdowns. 

Most states that accept remote claims also allow claimants to file 
their initial claims at a one-stop center, either by using available 
telephones--sometimes with a direct telephone link to a call center--or 
by using on site computer resources to access the Internet. In 
Washington, for example, individuals who come to the state's one-stop 
centers are directed to file by Internet or by phone at an on site 
kiosk. These kiosks, which the state has placed in most of its one-stop 
centers, provide a direct connection to a call center and display UI 
program information to help claimants understand the process. In 
addition, at least 8 states told us that they have staff at the one-
stop who can take claims or assist claimants in filing their claims. 

States Inform Claimants of Their Eligibility Requirements and the 
Availability of Reemployment Services during the Claim Process: 

In all states that accept claims remotely, officials told us they have 
found ways to provide information during the claims filing process on 
requirements that claimants must meet to maintain their eligibility for 
unemployment benefits. At the same time, they also told us they provide 
information on how to access reemployment services to help claimants 
get back to work. Among the 39 states that allow filing by telephone, 
the methods they use to notify claimants of their work search 
requirements and available services vary. 

* For eligibility requirements, most of the 39 states explain program 
rules over the telephone, most often during the initial call. For 
example, UI call center representatives in Washington give initial 
claimants information on their responsibility to search for work, the 
penalty for failure to do so, the location of the nearest one-stop 
center, and the types of services claimants could receive at the one-
stop. In addition, a few states direct telephone claimants to a Web 
page where they can find information on work search requirements and 
how to certify and file for continuing claims. 

* For reemployment services, all 39 states that accept initial claims 
by telephone reported that all or most of their telephone filers are 
provided information about these services, and approximately two-thirds 
of the states provide some of this information to their claimants 
during the initial call. Telephone filers in over 20 states are also 
directed to the one-stop system, through information that is either 
provided during the telephone call or sent to claimants later by mail. 
In Maryland, for example, officials told us that they inform claimants 
about reemployment services during the initial call and provide 
directions to the one-stop centers or Employment Service offices. 
Additionally, a few states have one-stop staff follow up with claimants 
to inform them of available services. 

The 34 states that allow remote filing by Internet also have a variety 
of methods for notifying claimants about their work search requirements 
and available services. 

* For work search requirements, more than three-fourths of these states 
reported that such information was available on a Web page that 
claimants could access while filing their claims. In over 20 of those 
states, individuals were required to go through an Internet page on UI 
program rules in order to complete their claims. Some states provided 
this information through a link on the Web page but did not require 
claimants to access that page at the time they filed their initial 
claims. 

* For reemployment services, all 34 states reported that all or most of 
their Internet filers are provided information about these services. 
Over three-fourths of those states provide some information to their 
claimants during the initial online filing process, although claimants 
may or may not be required to view this information to complete the 
claim. Almost half of the states that take initial claims by Internet 
told us they require claimants to access a document with reemployment 
services information before their claim is complete. Additionally, many 
told us that a link to this information is provided but claimants are 
not required to access the document in order to complete the claim. In 
some states, call center and one-stop staff may also contact claimants 
with information on how they may obtain services. For example, Virginia 
officials said the state runs a daily report of Internet claims filed, 
and call center representatives then call or e-mail a majority of those 
claimants to tell them about job seeker services and work search 
requirements. 

In addition to the information that remote filers receive over the 
phone or on a Web page, most of the 44 states that accept remote claims 
also mail claimants information on their responsibilities and available 
services. In Maryland, for example, officials told us that, as part of 
the claims filing process, claims center staff inform telephone filers 
of the work search requirement and the implications for not meeting it 
as well as the location of the Employment Service offices. After the 
claim is filed, all claimants are sent mailings that address UI and 
work search requirements and that provide directions to the one-stops 
and Employment Service offices. In Washington, everyone who files a 
claim receives a copy of the state's unemployment claims kit, which 
contains information on claimant responsibilities as well as on 
reemployment services, online resources, and one-stop and employment 
services center locations. 

Officials in 32 of the 44 states told us that in their opinion the 
shift to remote claims did not diminish their ability to provide 
information on reemployment services to claimants. Officials in at 
least 7 of the states that have established remote filing methods said 
they had faced challenges in maintaining the connections between UI 
claimants and the reemployment services available to them. For example, 
some states said that staff providing reemployment services had less 
initial contact with job seekers, who may wait several weeks before 
seeking out more information about services available to them. However, 
officials in almost three-quarters of the 44 states told us they 
thought the shift to remote claims either had no negative impact or had 
improved their ability to deliver reemployment services to UI 
claimants. Officials in some states reported that providing 
reemployment services in a remote claims environment proved more 
difficult at first. However, once they had completed the transition, 
they said they have perceived no negative impact on the linkages 
between UI and reemployment services. Officials generally cited 
benefits that included improved customer service, more consistent 
information for claimants, and the ability of states to focus their 
resources on providing reemployment services to claimants. 

* Several officials told us that they believed one benefit from the 
shift to remote claims was improved customer service. Claimants no 
longer needed to drive the sometimes great distances or wait around for 
hours just to file a claim. In addition, some states reported that it 
was easier to get information about services to claimants. 

* Additionally, some officials told us that they thought the use of 
remote claims had helped ensure that claimants received consistent 
information. Several states, for example, reported that using scripts 
for telephone customer service representatives or screens of 
information for Internet filers helps ensure that all claimants are 
told the same thing. 

* Some states said the transition to remote claims had enabled them to 
shift their focus from filing claims to providing services, and had 
reduced claims processing time. For example, officials in one state 
told us that some positive effects of using the Internet were that 
claims were processed more quickly, documentation was easily retrieved, 
and papers were not moving between offices. 

States Provide Claimants Access to a Range of Reemployment Services and 
Use UI Program Requirements to Connect Them with Available Services: 

Across states, UI claimants have access to a variety of reemployment 
services, and states make use of UI program requirements to connect 
claimants with available services at various points in their claim. All 
federally approved state UI programs must include able-to-work and 
available-for-work requirements that claimants must meet in order to 
receive benefits. In many states, these requirements also serve to link 
claimants to reemployment opportunities and services. In addition, 
states provide targeted reemployment services to particular groups of 
UI claimants. The federal requirement of claimant profiling is 
typically the primary mechanism for targeting reemployment services to 
claimants. 

Claimants Have Access to a Range of Reemployment Services: 

UI claimants have access to the range of reemployment services 
available to all job seekers through the one-stop system. Officials in 
all states, for example, told us that claimants can access job listings 
and information on their state's labor market trends using the 
Internet, and many said that claimants have access to online labor 
exchange, or job matching, services as well as other self-assisted 
services such as resume writing assistance, career guidance, and self-
assessment services. Officials in all states also told us that one-stop 
centers make computers available on-site, and most said that claimants 
have access to self-help software, such as aptitude tests, computer 
tutorials, or job search guidance, at the centers. Claimants also have 
access to a variety of staff-assisted reemployment services through the 
one-stop system. Officials most often mentioned that claimants were 
likely to be offered: 

* job search assistance;

* resume assistance;

* job matching, referral, and placement services;

* orientation to services;

* referral to WIA or other partners;

* initial or general needs assessment;

* counseling; and: 

* interview assistance. 

Some states have also undertaken special initiatives to expand the 
types of reemployment services available to claimants. Maryland, for 
example, responded to growth in white collar unemployment in the early 
1990s with the establishment of the Professional Outplacement 
Assistance Center. This program provides outplacement services for 
executive, professional, technical, and managerial workers who are 
unemployed, and if capacity allows, those who are underemployed. The 
program begins with an interactive three day orientation targeted to 
the needs of professionals and then offers participants networking 
opportunities through occupational affinity groups that bring together 
job seekers from similar occupations. Former participants also forward 
information on job opportunities to the program and offer assistance to 
current participants--a concept the staff term Pay-It-Forward. 

States Use Compliance with Work Requirements to Connect Claimants with 
Reemployment Services: 

UI program requirements often provide the context for states' efforts 
to link claimants to reemployment services. In satisfying the 
requirement that claimants be able and available for work, officials in 
44 states told us that claimants are required to register for work with 
the state's labor exchange. In addition, officials in all but one state 
told us that claimants must meet a work search requirement in order to 
remain eligible for benefits. The work search requirement varies across 
states but is typically defined in terms of the number of contacts 
claimants are required to make with employers. In about half of the 
states with a work search requirement, officials told us claimants 
subject to this requirement are required to make a specified or minimum 
number of job contacts, ranging from one to five contacts per week. In 
the rest, the required number of contacts is determined by what is seen 
to be reasonable for a particular area or occupation or the requirement 
is stated in more general terms. 

Claimants document that they are meeting their state's work search 
requirement in a number of ways, most commonly by keeping a log of work 
search activities that may be subject to review or by certifying they 
are able and available to work through the process of filing for a 
continuing claim. Washington, for example, has recently revised its 
work search requirement to be more specific, requiring each week that 
claimants make three job contacts, participate in three in-person 
reemployment services at a one-stop center, or complete some 
combination of the two. Claimants keep a log of these contacts and 
activities, which is subject to random review. In Michigan, as in many 
states, when claimants call in to the state's automated telephone 
system each week to file for their continuing claims, they must also 
certify that they are available for and seeking full-time work. In all 
states with a work search requirement, officials told us that the 
primary consequence faced by claimants who fail to comply is that they 
could be denied benefits. However, the length of time for which 
benefits are denied, and the extent to which claimants receive a 
warning prior to being denied benefits, varies across states. 

These work registration and work search requirements often serve to 
link claimants to reemployment services. The process of registering for 
work with the state's labor exchange, for example, may bring claimants 
into an Employment Service office or one-stop center where reemployment 
services are delivered. Officials in nearly two-thirds of the 44 states 
where claimants are required to register for work told us that coming 
into an Employment Service office or one-stop center is either a 
required part of the process or one of the options claimants have for 
completing their registration. Officials in close to a third of the 
states with this requirement told us claimants are automatically 
registered with the labor exchange when they file their initial UI 
claim. In Michigan, for example, most claimants file their initial 
claim remotely and may begin the work registration process remotely as 
well by placing their resume on the state's public online labor 
exchange. They must come into a one-stop center, however, to have their 
resumes validated by one-stop staff in order to complete the work 
registration process. In Washington, on the other hand, claimants who 
are required to look for work are automatically registered for work at 
the same time they file an initial telephone or Internet claim. Under 
this system, claimant information is uploaded into the state's 
workforce development management information system and becomes 
available to one-stop center staff. 

Some states also use their processes for monitoring compliance with the 
work search requirement to direct claimants to reemployment services. 
Officials in 39 of the 49 states that require claimants to actively 
seek employment told us that telephone or in-person interviews with 
claimants may be used to monitor compliance with this requirement. In 
over two-thirds of these states, officials told us that some 
information on job search strategies or reemployment services is 
provided during the interview. The level of information varies from 
suggestions offered on a case-by-case basis to a discussion of 
strategies and services that is a standard part of the interview. In 
Georgia, for example, the state's eligibility review program is used to 
determine whether a claimant faces particular problems in returning to 
work and if a claimant is making use of available reemployment 
services, in addition to determining eligibility and compliance with 
state work search rules. 

States Target Reemployment Services to Particular Groups of Claimants: 

States also engage some claimants in reemployment services directly 
through programs that identify certain groups for more targeted 
assistance. States primarily target reemployment services to claimants 
identified as most likely to exhaust their UI benefits before finding 
work through federally required claimant-profiling systems. While 
claimants identified and referred to services through profiling can 
access the services available to all job seekers through the one-stop 
system, participation in the services they are referred to is mandatory 
for profiled claimants. Specifically, state officials most often 
identified orientation and assessment as services profiled claimants 
were required to receive. In addition, many officials told us that the 
services profiled claimants received depended on their individual needs 
following an assessment, the development of an individual plan, or the 
guidance of staff at a one-stop center. While failure to report to 
required reemployment services can result in benefits being denied, 
states vary in the conditions that prompt denying benefits. 

Maryland, for example, targets reemployment services to profiled 
claimants through its Early Intervention program. This program, which 
began in 1994, offers an interactive, 2-day, 10-hour workshop, 
addressing self-assessment, job search resources, resume writing and 
interviewing skills, and other community resources available to job 
seekers. Profiled claimants selected for the workshop who fail to 
attend are given one opportunity to reschedule; after that, their 
failure to participate is reported to the UI program and their benefits 
may be suspended. When claimants complete the workshop, they are 
registered with the Maryland Job Service, they receive an individual 
employment plan, and the workshop facilitator may refer them to 
additional services. Officials told us that although they currently do 
not have data to show the impact of this program, they have received 
very positive feedback about the quality and effectiveness of the 
workshops. 

From our site visits we also learned that some states have developed 
additional methods to target reemployment services to particular groups 
of UI claimants. For example, one-stop staff in Washington have the 
ability to identify various subgroups of claimants using a tracking 
device called the Claimant Progress Tool. Officials told us that one-
stop staff typically use this tool to identify claimants who are about 
100 days into their claim, and then contact them for targeted job 
search assistance and job referrals. This process was developed to help 
the state achieve a goal of reducing the portion of their UI benefits 
that unemployed workers claim. Georgia's state-funded Claimant 
Assistance Program identifies claimants who are seen to be ready for 
employment and requires them to participate in the same services 
required of profiled claimants. This program is designed to help the 
state achieve its goal of generating savings for the UI Trust Fund. 
Claimants meeting this program's eligibility criteria also have the 
option of participating in the Georgia Works program, a recent state 
initiative to promote on-the-job training opportunities for UI 
claimants. Through Georgia Works, claimants receive 20 hours of on-the-
job training weekly for 8 weeks while continuing to receive their UI 
benefits. 

States often make use of Labor's Reemployment Services Grants--
available since 2001 for direct services to UI claimants--to fund these 
services. Officials in the majority of the states we interviewed told 
us their states have been using the Reemployment Services Grant funds 
to hire staff to provide reemployment services. For example, Maryland 
state officials said they use their funds to hire staff for the Early 
Intervention program, which has enabled them to run more workshops in 
areas that need them and to make further improvements in the program. 
Some states have also used these grants to direct reemployment services 
to claimants beyond those who have been profiled and to support other 
enhancements in the provision of reemployment services to claimants. 
For example, Washington state officials told us they used funds from 
these grants to support the development of the Claimant Progress Tool. 

Little Information Exists to Provide a Complete Picture of Reemployment 
Services for Unemployment Insurance Claimants: 

Despite states' efforts to design systems that link UI claimants to 
reemployment services, little data are available to gauge the extent to 
which claimants are receiving these services or the outcomes they 
achieve. While states must meet a number of federal reporting 
requirements for their UI programs, and for their federally funded 
employment and training programs, none of these reports provide a 
complete picture of the services received or the outcomes obtained by 
all UI claimants. Furthermore, we found that few states currently go 
beyond the federal reporting requirements to monitor the extent to 
which claimants are receiving services from the range of federally 
funded programs that are designed to assist them, and even fewer 
monitor outcomes for these claimants, largely because of limited 
information systems capabilities. Labor has some initiatives that may 
begin to shed light on claimant services and outcomes, but some 
limitations remain. 

Current Reporting Requirements Do Not Provide a Full Picture of 
Claimants' Use of Reemployment Services: 

UI claimants may access reemployment assistance from a number of 
federally-funded programs, most often Wagner-Peyser Employment Service, 
WIA Dislocated Worker or WIA Adult, and Trade Adjustment Assistance (if 
they are dislocated because of trade). To monitor the performance of 
these programs, Labor requires states to meet a number of reporting 
requirements, but the reports are submitted on a program-by-program 
basis. None of the reports provides a complete picture of the services 
received or the outcomes obtained by all UI claimants. 

UI reporting requirements. States must track and report annually on 
several performance measures considered key indicators of UI program 
performance--a system named UI Performs--but as currently configured, 
the system does not contain any measures related to services or 
outcomes for claimants. Instead, the measures focus exclusively on 
benefit and tax accuracy, quality, and timeliness. States also must 
report monthly on their UI claims and payment activities through form 
ETA 5159. These reports provide summary information that can be used to 
calculate average benefit duration and exhaustion rates at an aggregate 
level by state. These data are useful in following trends over time, 
but, do not contain information on those who had received services and 
those who did not. 

In addition, states must also report to Labor on their claimant 
profiling process--termed Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services--
but information in these reports represent only a portion of all UI 
claimants the state has served. The two profiling reports--ETA 9048 and 
9049--require states to provide summary information on the number of 
claimants targeted for services through the profiling process, and on 
the reemployment services and outcomes for this group of claimants. 
While the reports contain information on claimant services and 
outcomes, the data represent only the portion of claimants who were 
identified through profiling as likely to exhaust their benefits and 
who were also referred to services. This proportion can vary from place 
to place and from month to month depending on available resources, but 
may be a small proportion of all of the state's claimants. 

Wagner-Peyser Employment Service reporting requirements. States must 
provide quarterly reports for the Employment Service program, but these 
reports do not provide a complete picture of all claimants receiving 
reemployment services. The reports consist of summary information on 
the numbers of Employment Service participants who received specified 
services or who obtained certain outcomes. The report tracks service 
and outcome data by several demographic categories, including age 
grouping, gender, and whether or not the participant was a UI claimant. 
However, the report contains information on only those individuals who 
are registered with the Employment Service, and while all who receive 
services funded by Wagner-Peyser must be registered with the Employment 
Service, not all UI claimants receive Wagner-Peyser-funded services. 

WIA and the TAA programs. WIA and TAA reporting requirements are 
similarly limited and do not provide a complete picture of claimant 
services and outcomes. WIA tracks several performance measures directly 
related to outcomes for Adults and Dislocated Workers, including job 
placement, job retention, and wage gain or wage replacement. Labor 
requires states to report their performance on these measures in both 
quarterly and annual reports. In addition, once each year states submit 
a file to Labor, the WIA Standardized Record Data (WIASRD) file, 
containing a complete record of demographic, services, and outcome 
information on each WIA registrant who has exited the program. While 
these records contain information on whether or not the WIA registrant 
is also a UI claimant, they do not contain information for those 
claimants who are not registered under WIA. We and others have noted 
that many individuals served under WIA--particularly those who receive 
only self-directed services--are not registered or tracked for 
performance and are, therefore, not reflected in any of the WIA 
data.[Footnote 9] [Footnote 10] Similarly, for the TAA program Labor 
requires states to submit participant data files on all who exit the 
program each quarter, but the reports are limited to those claimants 
served by TAA. Table 1 summarizes these reporting requirements and 
their limitations for measuring overall claimant services and outcomes. 

Table 1: Summary of Data Reporting Requirements and Their Limitations 
for Measuring Overall Claimant Services and Outcomes: 

Unemployment Insurance program requirements: 

Reporting requirement: UI Performs; 
What it contains: Summary information reported annually on overall 
performance of state's UI program, including: 
* accuracy determining claimant's benefits; 
* time to process first payment to claimants; 
* timeliness of appeals process; 
* tax timeliness and accuracy; 
Limitations: Contains no information on claimant services or outcomes. 

Reporting requirement: ETA 5159--UI Claims and Payment Activities; 
What it contains: Summary information on claims and payments, 
including: 
* total new initial claims; 
* continued weeks claimed; 
* weeks compensated; 
* first payments; 
* final payments for all unemployed; 
Limitations: Contains no information on claimant services or outcomes. 

Reporting requirement: Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services: ETA 
9048--Claimant Activity; 
What it contains: Summary information on services, including: 
* number who are profiled and targeted for services; 
* number reporting for services, by type of service; 
* number completing services, by type of service; 
Limitations: Only contains information on claimants who have been 
targeted for services through profiling. 

Reporting requirement: Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services: ETA 
9049--Claimant Outcomes; 
What it contains: Summary information on outcomes, including: 
* benefit duration and amount; 
* employment and wages; 
Limitations: Only contains information on claimants who have been 
targeted for services through profiling. Includes only those reemployed 
within the same state. 

Wagner-Peyser Employment Service requirements: 

Reporting requirement: ETA 9002 Quarterly Report; 
What it contains: Summary information reported quarterly on 
participants registered with the Employment Service, including: 
* demographics; 
* services provided or referred; 
* employment outcomes; 
Limitations: Only contains information on claimants who have registered 
with the Employment Service program. 

Workforce Investment Act requirements: 

Reporting requirement: ETA 9090-WIA Quarterly Report; 
What it contains: Quarterly updates to annual report providing summary 
information on current WIA participants, including: 
* job placement; 
* employment retention; 
* earnings change; 
* credential rate; 
Limitations: Only contains information on claimants who have received 
services and are registered under WIA. Those receiving only self-
service or information are not registered. 

Reporting requirement: ETA 9091-WIA Annual Report; 
What it contains: Summary information on WIA registrants who exited the 
program, including: 
* job placement; 
* employment retention; 
* earnings change; 
* credential rate; 
Limitations: Only contains information on claimants who have received 
services and are registered under WIA. Those receiving only self-
service or information are not registered. 

Reporting requirement: WIA Standard Record Data; 
What it contains: Participant-level data file of all WIA registrants 
who exited the program, including: 
* demographics; 
* services/activities; 
* employment/wage outcomes; 
* credential attainment; 
Limitations: Only contains information on claimants who have received 
services and are registered under WIA. Those receiving only self-
service or information are not registered. 

Trade Adjustment Assistance Act requirements: 

Reporting requirement: Trade Act Participant Report (TAPR); 
What it contains: 
* Participant-level data file of all TAA participants who exited the 
program: 
* demographics; 
* services/activities; 
* employment/wage outcomes; 
Limitations: Only contains information on claimants who are also 
participating in TAA. 

Source: Department of Labor guidance. 

[End of table]

States Face Challenges in Assessing Claimant Services and Outcomes: 

Having data that show the degree to which reemployment services are 
reaching UI claimants is key to good program management and provides a 
first step toward understanding the impact of these programs. However, 
knowing how many claimants may be accessing reemployment services and 
the type of outcomes they may be achieving has proven difficult for 
state and local officials. Only 14 states reported[Footnote 11] that 
they go beyond the federal reporting requirements to routinely track 
the extent to which claimants[Footnote 12] receive services from the 
broad array of federally funded programs that are designed to assist 
them.[Footnote 13] Of the states that reported that they did not 
routinely track claimant services, 4 states told us it would not be 
possible to do so. Overall, 37 states told us doing so was somewhat or 
very difficult, while 6 states said it was not at all difficult (see 
fig. 2). 

Figure 2: Most States Reported It Was Difficult to Track Claimant 
Services across the Broad Array of Federal Employment and Training 
Programs: 

[See PDF for image] -- graphic text: 

Bar graph with five items.

Degree of difficulty: Not at all difficult; 
Number of states: 6. 

Degree of difficulty: Somewhat difficult; 
Number of states: 26. 

Degree of difficulty: Very difficult; 
Number of states: 11. 

Degree of difficulty: Cannot calculate this; 
Number of states: 4. 

Degree of difficulty: Not sure; 
Number of states: 3.

Source: GAO survey of state officials. 

[End of figure]

States most often told us that tracking claimant services across 
multiple programs was made difficult by the fact that reemployment 
services and UI claimant data were maintained in separate data systems-
-systems that were either incompatible or difficult to link. (See fig. 
3.)

Figure 3: Reasons States Said Tracking Client Services Was Difficult: 

[See PDF for image] --graphic text: 

Bar graph with six items.

Reason: Not routinely captured; 
Number of states: 9. 

Reason: Data maintained in different data systems; 
Number of states: 33.

Reason: Use different data definitions and coding; 
Number of states: 7.

Reason: Data maintained by different departments; 
Number of states: 10.

Reason: Privacy issues prevent or complicate; 
Number of states: 3.

Reason: One or more data elements not reliable; 
Number of states: 7.

Source: GAO survey of state officials. 

Note: States could cite more than one reason. 

[End of figure]

While relatively few states routinely track claimants' services, even 
fewer track outcomes. Only 6 states told us that they go beyond the 
federal reporting requirements to routinely monitor any outcomes for 
the subset of UI claimants that receives reemployment services--
outcomes such as entered employment rate, average benefit duration, and 
UI exhaustion rate. Eleven states told us it would not be possible to 
calculate any of the outcomes for these claimants.[Footnote 14] More 
states reported difficulty tracking the entered employment rate than 
the average benefit duration or UI exhaustion rate. (See fig. 
4).[Footnote 15]

Figure 4: States' Assessment of How Difficult It Would Be to Track 
Outcomes for Claimants Who Received Services: 

[See PDF for image] --graphic text: 

Bar chart with 12 items. 

Degree of difficulty: No it would not be possible to calculate this 
outcome; 
Entered employment rate: Number of states: 11;
Average benefit duration: Number of states: 11;
UI exhaustion rate: Number of states: 11.

Degree of difficulty: Yes technically possible, added resources 
required; 
Entered employment rate: Number of states: 28;
Average benefit duration: Number of states: 25;
UI exhaustion rate: Number of states: 25.

Degree of difficulty: Yes possible, no added resources required; 
Entered employment rate: Number of states: 6;
Average benefit duration: Number of states: 12;
UI exhaustion rate: Number of states: 12.

Degree of difficulty: Unsure if it would be possible; 
Entered employment rate: Number of states: 5;
Average benefit duration: Number of states: 2;
UI exhaustion rate: Number of states: 2.

Source: GAO survey of state officials. 

[End of figure]

The issues states cited in tracking outcomes across programs for UI 
claimants were similar to those for tracking use of services. Most 
states (35) told us that tracking one or more outcome measures was made 
difficult by the fact that reemployment services and UI claimant data 
were maintained in different systems that were either incompatible or 
difficult to link. 

Some Federal Initiatives and Research May Help Our Understanding of 
Services and Outcomes to Claimants, but Limitations Remain: 

Labor has some initiatives that may begin to shed light on claimant 
services and outcomes, but the efforts still fall short of giving us a 
nationwide understanding of services and outcomes for UI claimants. 

UI performance measures. Labor is modifying its UI performance 
measures, and some of the changes will begin to focus attention on 
claimant outcomes. Beginning in summer 2005, in addition to reporting 
on benefit timeliness and accuracy, states will be required to track a 
reemployment rate for their UI claimants--defined as the percentage of 
UI claimants who are reemployed within the quarter following their 
first UI payment.[Footnote 16] This change will improve the 
understanding of how many UI claimants are quickly reemployed 
nationwide, but, it will not provide information on claimants who 
become reemployed after the first quarter. Further, it will not allow 
for an assessment of how many claimants access reemployment services 
nor will it allow the outcomes claimants achieve to be attributed to 
services. 

Employment Service, WIA, and TAA reporting changes. Labor is also 
modifying its reporting requirements for Employment Service, WIA, and 
TAA programs.[Footnote 17] With the transition beginning in July 2005, 
states' Employment Service, WIA, and TAA programs will be required to 
report on their performance using a new set of common measures--
measures that use the same data definitions and data coding across all 
included programs. The new measures, focused on job placement, 
employment retention, and earnings increase, will help eliminate some 
of the definitional difficulties states faced as they tried to measure 
performance across multiple programs. In addition, it will require that 
states begin counting all job seekers who use the one-stop, including 
those who only receive services that are informational or self-service 
in nature. However, because the Unemployment Insurance program is not 
included in these measures, this change would not allow for a complete 
assessment of UI claimants' use of services. 

Future plans for reporting on performance for Labor's Employment and 
Training Administration (ETA) programs include the development of a 
system to consolidate reporting. This system--ETA's Management 
Information and Longitudinal Evaluation (EMILE) system--would 
consolidate performance reporting across a range of Labor programs 
including WIA, Employment Service, and TAA. Current plans do not 
include incorporating UI reporting into EMILE. We recently reported 
that implementing a comprehensive reporting system across workforce 
programs could provide a better picture of the one-stop system, but 
recommended that Labor consider greater ongoing consultation with key 
stakeholders, including states, in order to enhance its efforts to 
implement it.[Footnote 18] Labor is currently conducting a feasibility 
study on implementation issues associated with EMILE, and, at present, 
it is unclear how soon such a system could be implemented. 

Administrative Data Research and Evaluation (ADARE). Because Labor 
lacked the capacity to evaluate services across the broad array of 
employment and training programs, it commissioned ADARE to begin to 
fill the gap. ADARE is an alliance of 9 state partners--Florida, 
Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, Texas, Illinois, Washington, California, 
and Ohio--that cover 43 percent of the country's civilian workforce. 
ADARE provides third-party researchers with detailed, longitudinal 
administrative data from the 9 states on participants in several 
programs, including Employment Service, WIA, Temporary Assistance for 
Needy Families (TANF), and Perkins Vocational Education, as well as UI 
wage and benefit records and education records. ADARE efforts so far 
have focused largely on evaluating welfare-to-work programs and WIA. 
Currently under way is an effort to examine three facets of UI claimant 
behavior--repeat claims, benefit exhaustion, and reemployment profiles. 
Unfortunately, planned expansions of the data collection have been 
slower to implement than originally anticipated, and some of the data 
used in ADARE, such as the WIA performance data, are limited. Having 
the capacity to link data across multiple programs within a state is a 
major leap forward in understanding UI claimants' participation in a 
broad array of programs and to measure some of their outcomes. But, 
while the participating states represent a relatively large proportion 
of the workforce, they don't provide a nationwide perspective. In 
addition, until WIA's new reporting requirements go into effect, the 
WIA data will be limited to those claimants who are registered under 
WIA. 

Five-Year Evaluation. Labor has also begun a 5-year national study of 
the UI benefits program. The evaluation is intended to provide detailed 
information on the effectiveness of the UI program in light of its 
goals and underlying program design. Researchers hope to enlist up to 
25 states willing to share their data, and the study seeks to identify, 
in part, changes in the labor market, population, and economy relative 
to the UI program, as well as detailed characteristics of who receives 
and does not receive UI benefits. As part of the study, researchers are 
hoping to learn more about the extent to which UI claimants are 
receiving reemployment services in those states, and about the outcomes 
they are achieving, including how long claimants receive benefits. 
However, at this point, it is too soon to know how successful they will 
be in obtaining information on claimants' use of the broad array of 
programs designed to serve them. And because it is limited to states 
that are willing to participate, it, too, falls short of providing a 
nationwide perspective. 

Conclusions: 

States have increasingly shifted to requiring that most UI claimants 
file their claims remotely. To help them get the reemployment services 
they need to facilitate their reemployment, states have often designed 
their processes to help link claimants to reemployment services. 
However, knowing how many claimants are actually accessing reemployment 
services has proven difficult for state and local officials. Most 
states lack this information, arguably critical for good program 
management, often because data reside in separate systems that cannot 
be easily linked. In the new environment created by WIA, where 
claimants may be served by a range of programs that go beyond 
Unemployment Insurance and Employment Service, it becomes increasingly 
important to find new ways to link program data across a broader range 
of programs. Current reporting requirements are not enough to provide a 
complete picture. 

Labor has some initiatives underway to help fill this gap, but the 
issue of collecting complete information on those individuals served by 
the nation's workforce development system--mainly through the one-
stops--needs to be viewed in a broader context, not program-by-program. 
The nine-state effort under ADARE to link administrative data on 
participants in a range of programs is a step in the right direction, 
but doesn't include information on all services claimants receive. The 
common measures and EMILE initiative are steps to provide more 
comprehensive and complete information on those served by the one-
stops, including unemployment insurance claimants who come in to the 
one-stops for services. However, the present EMILE proposal does not 
include a link to Unemployment Insurance administrative data, so it 
will not be able to provide information on all UI claimants, only those 
who receive services through a one-stop. As such, EMILE cannot be used 
as a source of information on benefit duration. Taken together, these 
efforts will not be able to provide all states with an understanding of 
services and outcomes for all UI claimants, an understanding that is 
critical for assessing the performance of the program or the potential 
need for future reforms. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

We recommend that as Labor develops EMILE, the Secretary of Labor work 
with states to develop a plan for considering the feasibility of 
requiring states to collect more comprehensive information on UI 
claimants' use of reemployment services and the outcomes achieved by 
claimants, including the length of time claimants receive UI before 
they are reemployed. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided a draft of this report to Labor officials for their review 
and comment. Labor generally agreed with our findings, but took issue 
with our recommendation that it work with states to consider the 
feasibility of collecting more comprehensive information on UI 
claimants' services and outcomes, saying that its current and planned 
data gathering and research efforts would provide adequate information 
to guide policy making. 

Labor noted that, in addition to the efforts acknowledged in our 
report, a new initiative will provide additional data on some UI 
claimants and their reemployment services in the future. Labor also 
said that, given the burden placed on states to collect and report 
data, it is important to show a clear benefit to the system for 
additional data collection. Labor requested that GAO provide additional 
guidance on how collection of the data is expected to improve services 
to UI claimants and hasten their reemployment. 

We continue to assert that comprehensive data on the extent to which UI 
claimants receive reemployment services and the outcomes claimants 
achieve is important for program management in an environment where 
claimants may receive services from a number of different programs. 
While Labor's new initiatives, in combination with current reporting 
requirements, will provide valuable information on the reemployment 
activities of some UI claimants, this information is generally 
collected on a program-by-program basis or is focused on a single 
category of claimants. Consequently, these efforts will not allow for a 
comprehensive, nationwide understanding of claimants' participation in 
the broad range of reemployment services provided through federal 
programs nor do they move states in the direction of having the data 
they need to better manage their systems. In recommending that Labor 
study the feasibility of a more comprehensive data collection effort, 
we acknowledge the challenges faced by states to collect and track 
these data and understand that acquiring a comprehensive picture of UI 
claimant's participation in reemployment services will have a cost. 
However, having information on UI claimants who are and are not 
receiving services is an important step in the development of 
reemployment efforts that hasten workers' reemployment and minimize UI 
benefit costs. 

Labor also provided technical comments which we have incorporated in 
our report, as appropriate. A copy of Labor's comments is in appendix 
III. 

We will send copies of this report to relevant congressional 
committees, the Secretary of Labor, and other interested parties. We 
will also make copies available to others upon request. In addition, 
the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at 
http://www.gao.gov. 

If you or members of your staff have any questions about this report, 
please contact me at (202) 512-7215. Major contributors to this report 
are listed in appendix IV. 

Sincerely yours,

Signed by: 

Sigurd R. Nilsen: 
Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues: 

[End of section]

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

We were asked to provide information on (1) the extent to which states 
have shifted to remote methods for filing initial claims and how they 
are making claimants aware of their responsibilities to look for work 
and the services available to assist them, (2) what states are doing to 
facilitate the reemployment of unemployment insurance (UI) claimants, 
and (3) what is known about the extent to which unemployment insurance 
claimants receive reemployment services and about the outcomes of 
claimants who receive these services. To address these questions, we 
conducted telephone interviews with unemployment insurance and 
workforce development officials in all 50 states. We then used a 
separate brief e-mail instrument to gather more specific information on 
the strategies states use to collect data on unemployment insurance 
claimants who receive reemployment services. Additionally, we conducted 
site visits to 4 states--Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, and Washington--
and interviewed state and local officials in these states. We reviewed 
data and documents from the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) and other 
sources. We also interviewed officials from Labor, the National 
Association of State Workforce Agencies, and the UI Information 
Technology Support Center, as well as researchers from the University 
of Texas at Austin, the Upjohn Institute, and the Urban Institute. 

For this review, we defined reemployment services to mean all 
reemployment activities funded through Wagner-Peyser; Workforce 
Investment Act (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker services; any other 
training or job search assistance provided using federal funds, such as 
Trade Adjustment Assistance; and any state-funded reemployment or 
training services. We defined UI claimants as individuals who have 
filed an initial UI claim, been found eligible according to both 
monetary and nonmonetary criteria, and received a first payment of UI 
benefits. 

We provided a draft of this report to officials at the Department of 
Labor for their review and incorporated their comments where 
appropriate. We conducted our work from February 2004 through May 2005 
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Telephone Interview and Supplemental Data Collection Instruments: 

To collect broad information on unemployment insurance claimants' use 
of reemployment services, we conducted telephone interviews with 
officials in all 50 states from agencies that oversee the unemployment 
insurance and workforce development programs.[Footnote 19] We designed 
a structured computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) instrument 
that consisted of closed-and open-ended questions on a range of topics, 
including methods used in each state to file initial claims, both 
outside of one-stop centers, employment security offices, and 
unemployment insurance offices and on site at those locations; work 
search requirements and available reemployment services and how states 
notify claimants of them; worker profiling; and states' data collection 
efforts related to remote filing, work search requirements, receipt of 
reemployment services, and performance outcomes the states may track. 
For a majority of the telephone interview questions, we asked state 
officials to consider the present status of a topic in their state. We 
asked them to consider either a particular program or fiscal year for 
only a few questions. Telephone interviews were conducted during 
October and November 2004. 

To better understand states' issues associated with tracking 
performance data, and using results from our CATI as a guide, we 
supplemented our telephone interviews with a brief data collection 
instrument that asked state officials for greater detail about what 
states tracked for UI claimants receiving reemployment services. We 
also asked them about the specific challenges they faced in tracking 
data on reemployment services and outcomes for all UI claimants. We 
completed this effort in March 2005. Officials from all 50 states 
provided responses about their states' data concerns. 

Because we surveyed officials from all 50 states, no sampling error is 
associated with our work. However, nonsampling error could figure into 
any data collection effort and involve a range of issues that could 
affect data quality and introduce unwanted variability into the 
results. We took several steps to minimize nonsampling errors. For 
example, GAO survey specialists and staff with subject matter expertise 
collaboratively designed both instruments. Also, the draft telephone 
interview instrument was pretested with officials in 3 states to ensure 
that the questions were relevant, clear, and easy to comprehend and 
that states would have the capacity to readily respond to them. 
Similarly, the draft data collection instrument was pretested with 
officials from 2 states. During the telephone interviews, responses 
were called back to state officials to ensure the data were being 
accurately captured. To further minimize errors, programs used to 
analyze data collected through both instruments were independently 
verified to ensure the accuracy of this work. 

Site Visits: 

We selected 4 states for site visits according to several criteria that 
gave us a range of state unemployment rates (as of March 2004), amounts 
of program year 2004 WIA Dislocated Worker funding, acceptance of 
initial UI claims by telephone or Internet, and whether the state had 
an employer tax-funded state training or job placement program. States 
selected for site visits are shown in table 2. We also sought 
recommendations from Labor officials and other experts and considered 
geographic diversity in our state selections. In each state, we 
interviewed officials in the workforce development system and UI 
programs on issues such as labor market information, UI claims filing, 
worker profiling, work search requirement, reemployment services 
offered, and data collection and management. 

Table 2: States Selected for Site Visits: 

State: Georgia; 
Unemployment rate (Mar 2004): 3.6%; 
PY2004 WIA Dislocated Worker funds: $23,938,297; 
Intrastate phone initial claims (as of 8/03): Planning; 
Internet initial claims (as of 3/04): Planning; 
Employer tax funded state training or job placement program: No. 

State: Maryland; 
Unemployment rate (Mar 2004): 4.0%; 
PY2004 WIA Dislocated Worker funds: $11,824,549; 
Intrastate phone initial claims (as of 8/03): Yes; 
Internet initial claims (as of 3/04): Yes; 
Employer tax funded state training or job placement program: No. 

State: Michigan; 
Unemployment rate (Mar 2004): 6.9%; 
PY2004 WIA Dislocated Worker funds: $50,409,392; 
Intrastate phone initial claims (as of 8/03): Partial; 
Internet initial claims (as of 3/04): Yes; 
Employer tax funded state training or job placement program: Yes. 

State: Washington; 
Unemployment rate (Mar 2004): 6.1%; 
PY2004 WIA Dislocated Worker funds: $37,037,061; 
Intrastate phone initial claims (as of 8/03): Yes; 
Internet initial claims (as of 3/04): Yes; 
Employer tax funded state training or job placement program: Yes. 

Source: Department of Labor, UI Information Technology Support Center, 
and GAO analysis. 

Note: Georgia and Maryland were in the bottom quartile for unemployment 
rate in March 2004, while Michigan and Washington were in the top 
quartile. Additionally, Michigan and Washington were in the top 
quartile in program year 2004 WIA Dislocated Worker funds. 

[End of table]

In coordination with state officials, we selected two local areas in 
each state, visiting a mix of urban and rural areas that had been 
identified by the state as having taken innovative approaches to 
providing reemployment services to UI claimants.[Footnote 20] Local 
areas selected for site visits are shown in table 3. At the local 
areas, we met with local workforce officials at one-stop or career 
centers to collect information on UI claims filing procedures, 
reemployment services offered, how these services are targeted to UI 
claimants, how UI claimants are linked to services, enforcement of work 
search requirements, and data collection and use. We also talked with 
officials at state telephone call centers in Maryland, Michigan, and 
Washington; a problem resolution office in Lansing, Michigan; and the 
Professional Outplacement Assistance Center in Columbia, Maryland. 

Table 3: Local Workforce Areas Selected for Site Visits: 

State: Georgia; 
One-stop center/local workforce area: LaGrange Career Center[A]; 
City: LaGrange; 
One-stop center/local workforce area: Gwinnett Career Center; 

City: Norcross. 

State: Maryland; 
One-stop center/local workforce area: Southwest One-Stop Career Center 
(Baltimore City Workforce Investment Board); 
City: Baltimore; 
One-stop center/local workforce area: One-Stop Job Market (Lower Shore 
Workforce Alliance); 
City: Salisbury. 

State: Michigan; 
One-stop center/local workforce area: Montcalm Service Center (Central 
Area Michigan Works! Consortium); 
City: Greenville; 
One-stop center/local workforce area: Southgate Service Center 
(Southeast Michigan Community Alliance); 
City: Southgate. 

State: Washington; 
One-stop center/local workforce area: WorkSource Grays Harbor (Pacific 
Mountain Workforce Development Council); 
City: Aberdeen; 
One-stop center/local workforce area: WorkSource North Seattle 
(Seattle/King County Workforce Development Council); 
City: Seattle. 

Source: GAO analysis. 

[A] The sites we visited in Georgia are not one-stops but rather are 
among the 53 career centers run by the Georgia Department of Labor. 
Only career centers handle UI initial claims or UI eligibility reviews. 
Some career centers are designated primary one-stops for their local 
areas; those that are not are still based on the one-stop model and 
provide their clients access to the full range of reemployment 
services. 

[End of table]

We attempted to corroborate the responses collected through the 
telephone interview and supplemental data collection instruments. To 
the extent possible, for the states we visited we compared responses 
gathered through our instruments with information we collected during 
those visits. During the time of our work, other sources, such as 
Administrative Data Research and Evaluation (ADARE), that could have 
acted as comparisons for some items or topics related to unemployment 
insurance claimants, were not yet available. Based on the comparisons 
we made, and discussions and interviews we held with agency staff and 
officials and outside experts, we believe the data are sufficiently 
reliable to be used in providing information on UI claims and claimants 
and reemployment services. 

[End of section]

Appendix II: States That Accept Telephone and Internet Claims Remotely: 

At the time of our survey, 39 states reported that they accepted 
telephone initial claims, and 34 said they took Internet initial claims 
(table 4). Additionally, 29 states reported that they used both remote 
filing methods, and 6 states said they did not currently accept initial 
claims remotely by either telephone or Internet. Several states that 
currently use a single remote filing method--Internet or telephone--
indicated to us that they have plans to begin accepting claims by both 
methods in the future. 

Table 4: States That Accept Telephone and Internet Claims Remotely: 

State: Alabama; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Alaska; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Arizona; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Arkansas; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: California; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Colorado; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Connecticut; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Delaware; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Florida; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Georgia; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Hawaii; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Idaho; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Illinois; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Indiana; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Iowa; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Kansas; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Kentucky; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Louisiana; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Maine; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Maryland; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Massachusetts; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Michigan; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Minnesota; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Mississippi; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Missouri; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Montana; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Nebraska; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Nevada; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: New Hampshire; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: New Jersey; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: New Mexico; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: New York; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: North Carolina; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: North Dakota; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Ohio; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Oklahoma; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Oregon; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Pennsylvania; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Rhode Island; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: South Carolina; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: South Dakota; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Tennessee; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Texas; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Utah; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Vermont; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Virginia; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Washington; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: West Virginia; 
Phone claims: No; 
Internet claims: No. 

State: Wisconsin; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

State: Wyoming; 
Phone claims: Yes; 
Internet claims: Yes. 

Source: GAO table from survey responses--October and November 2004. 

[End of table]

[End of section]

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Labor: 

U.S. Department of Labor: 

Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training: 
Washington, D.C. 20210: 

JUN 15 2005: 

Mr. Sigurd R. Nilsen: 
Director:
Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office:
441 G. Street, N.W.: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Mr. Nilsen: 

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the draft Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled, "Better Data Needed to 
Assess Reemployment Services to Claimants" (GAO-05-413). The report is 
the result of an audit to determine whether unemployment insurance (UI) 
beneficiaries who file UI claims remotely are receiving sufficient 
information and are linked to reemployment services. The GAO 
recommended in the report that--

"[A]s Labor develops EMILE [Management Information and Longitudinal 
Evaluation system], the Secretary of Labor works with states to develop 
a plan for considering the feasibility of requiring states to collect 
more comprehensive information on UI claimants' use of reemployment 
services and the outcomes achieved by claimants, including the length 
of time claimants receive UI before they are reemployed."

We appreciate that GAO recognizes the potential value of EMILE overall 
and that the stated purpose of the recommendation is "to improve the 
understanding of claimant' use of services and of their outcomes." The 
report, however, did not describe the possible uses of this data. 

As acknowledged in the report, the Employment and Training 
Administration (ETA) currently collects data on UI beneficiaries to 
whom the publicly funded workforce system provides training and 
reemployment services, with the exception of self-services and 
"information provided without additional services." Also as noted in 
the report, the UI program is implementing as a performance measure the 
rate at which UI beneficiaries become reemployed. 

Another initiative for which data will be available is the recently 
implemented Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) initiative. 
The Department has provided funding to 21 states to conduct in-person 
interviews with UI beneficiaries to assure that the beneficiaries meet 
continuing eligibility requirements including their responsibilities 
for finding reemployment and to assess their need for reemployment 
services. Initially, the results of these assessments will be collected 
from nine (9) states. ETA will seek authority to collect similar data 
from all states funded for REA activity. 

Another recent project designed to promote the placement and 
reemployment of unemployed workers, specifically UI beneficiaries, is 
the Claimant Placement and Claimant Reemployment (CPCR) project 
conducted by one of ETA's regional offices. In collaboration with 
states, CPCR has identified high performance states and is determining 
factors most likely contributing to their success such as program 
structure, program policy, service delivery and coordination of 
UI/workforce reemployment services. The high performance states have 
taken on the role as mentors of states interested in improving 
performance and are sharing with them their methods to reemploy UI 
claimants. Although CPCR is not a data collection instrument per se, 
the practices of high performing states will be shared with other 
states. 

We also note that UI beneficiaries are experienced workers-many are 
expected to be called back to their old jobs and others, unemployed for 
seasonal reasons, have tried-and-true methods of becoming reemployed. 
Therefore, reemployment services may not be necessary for all 
beneficiaries. 

We believe that the current data collected, combined with the data soon 
to be collected, and supplemented by periodic research provide adequate 
information to guide policy making related to promoting UI 
beneficiaries reemployment. In addition, the report discusses the 
difficulties states would have collecting additional information 
because the data for the Ul program and public workforce system 
generally reside in separate computer systems within the states. We are 
cognizant of the burden placed on states in regard to data collection 
and reporting, so it is important to show a clear benefit to the system 
for additional data collections. Therefore, we would appreciate having 
the GAO provide additional guidance on how collection of the additional 
data is expected to improve services to UI beneficiaries and hasten 
their reemployment. 

Enclosed are ETA's technical comments on the draft report. If you would 
like additional information, please do not hesitate to call me at (202) 
693-2700. 

Sincerely,

Signed by: 

Emily Stover DeRocco: 

Enclosure: 

[End of section]

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Sigurd R. Nilsen, Director, (202) 512-7215: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

Dianne Blank, Assistant Director: 

Janice Peterson, Analyst-in-Charge: 

In addition, the following staff made major contributions to this 
report: Karyn Angulo and Andrew Bauck served as team members and 
assisted with all phases of the effort; Jennifer Miller, Alison Pan, 
and Leslie Sarapu assisted with data collection; Kevin Jackson advised 
on design and methodology issues; Erin Daugherty, Theresa Chen, R. 
Jerry Aiken, and Catherine Hurley assisted with data analysis; Susan 
Bernstein and Stan Stenersen advised on report preparation; Jessica 
Botsford advised on legal issues; and Lise Levie and Regina Santucci 
verified our findings. 

[End of section]

Related GAO Products: 

Workforce Investment Act: Labor Should Consider Alternative Approaches 
to Implement New Performance and Reporting Requirements. GAO-05-539. 
Washington, D.C.: May 27, 2005. 

Unemployment Insurance: Information on Benefit Receipt. GAO-05-291. 
Washington, D.C.: March 17, 2005. 

Trade Adjustment Assistance: Reforms Have Accelerated Training 
Enrollment, but Implementation Challenges Remain. GAO-04-1012. 
Washington, D.C.: September 22, 2004: 

Workforce Investment Act: States and Local Areas Have Developed 
Strategies to Assess Performance, but Labor Could Do More to Help. GAO-
04-657. Washington, D.C.: June 1, 2004: 

Workforce Training: Almost Half of States Fund Employment Placement and 
Training through Employer Taxes and Most Coordinate with Federally 
Funded Programs. GAO-04-282. Washington, D.C.: February 13, 2004: 

Workforce Investment Act: One-Stop Centers Implemented Strategies to 
Strengthen Services and Partnerships, but More Research and Information 
Sharing Is Needed. GAO-03-725. Washington D.C.: June 18, 2003. 

Multiple Employment and Training Programs: Funding and Performance 
Measures for Major Programs. GAO-03-589. Washington, D.C.: April 18, 
2003: 

Unemployment Insurance: States' Use of the 2002 Reed Act Distribution. 
GAO-03-496. Washington, D.C.: March 6, 2003. 

Workforce Investment Act: Better Guidance and Revised Funding Formula 
Would Enhance Dislocated Worker Program. GAO-02-274. Washington, D.C.: 
February 11, 2002: 

Workforce Investment Act: Improvements Needed in Performance Measures 
to Provide a More Accurate Picture of WIA's Effectiveness. GAO-02-275. 
Washington, D.C.: February 1, 2002. 

Unemployment Insurance: Role as Safety Net for Low-Wage Workers Is 
Limited. GAO-01-181. Washington, D.C.: December 29, 2000. 

FOOTNOTES

[1] Wayne Vroman, Extending Unemployment Insurance (UI) Protection, 
(Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, May 6, 2003). 

[2] For purposes of the survey, we defined claimant as an individual 
who has applied for regular unemployment compensation, been found 
eligible, and received a first payment of benefits. 

[3] Self-employed individuals and agricultural workers on small farms 
are generally not covered under UI. 

[4] For more information, see GAO, Trade Adjustment Assistance: Reforms 
Have Accelerated Training Enrollment, but Implementation Challenges 
Remain. GAO-04-1012 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 22, 2004), and Health 
Coverage Tax Credit: Simplified and More Timely Enrollment Process 
Could Increase Participation. GAO-04-1029 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 30, 
2004). 

[5] For the purposes of this study, a state was considered to take 
telephone claims remotely if it had implemented telephone filing for 
intrastate initial claims at the time of our interview. Most of these 
states provided the telephone option statewide, but a few of them, such 
as Tennessee and Virginia, were still transitioning to statewide 
implementation. 

[6] For the purposes of this study, a state was considered to take 
Internet claims remotely if claimants statewide had the option of 
filing over the Internet from outside of a one-stop, Employment 
Service, or UI office at the time of our interview. We did not consider 
a state as an Internet filing state if it operated only a pilot program 
in a part of the state and had not established a definite date for 
statewide implementation. 

[7] Even when the claim is filed through a customer service 
representative, the process in most states involves both an automated 
response system and a conversation with a customer service 
representative. Typically claimants first key data that is converted to 
a numeric response using an automated system. The claimants are then 
transferred to a customer service representative to complete the claim. 

[8] In Georgia, unemployed workers can participate in reemployment 
services at either a Career Center or a one-stop center. Only the 
Career Centers, however, handle UI initial claims, and they have UI 
staff on site. 

[9] The Workforce Investment Act specifically excludes self-service 
clients from performance measures. 

[10] For more information see GAO, Workforce Investment Act: States and 
Local Areas Have Developed Strategies to Assess Performance, but Labor 
Could Do More to Help, GAO-04-657 (Washington, D.C.: June 1, 2004), and 
Workforce Investment Act: Improvements Needed in Performance Measures 
to Provide a More Accurate Picture of WIA's Effectiveness, GAO-02-275 
(Washington, D.C.: Feb. 1, 2002). 

[11] Based on our follow-up e-mail questionnaire to state officials. 

[12] For purposes of our survey, a claimant was one who was determined 
eligible according to both monetary and nonmonetary criteria. 

[13] We specifically asked states to exclude self-assisted services 
when they considered their response to this survey question. 

[14] We asked states whether it would be possible to calculate the 
outcomes for a specific time period for the subset of claimants who (1) 
filed a new initial claim, (2) received a first payment in a given 
fiscal year, and (3) received reemployment services within 6 months of 
their initial claim. 

[15] Four states said in written comments that our definition of 
claimants--that they received a first payment--contributed to the 
difficulty in performing the calculations. 

[16] Data will be reported in summer 2006. 

[17] These reporting changes also affect the Veterans' Employment and 
Training Programs. 

[18] See GAO, Workforce Investment Act: Labor Should Consider 
Alternative Approaches to Implement New Performance and Reporting 
Requirements, GAO-05-539 (Washington, D.C.: May 27, 2005.)

[19] We did not include Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, or the Virgin 
Islands in this review. 

[20] While we took measures to ensure the selected sites reflect the 
substantive criteria, our visits were made to nonprobability samples of 
states and local areas. Therefore, results from these samples cannot be 
used to make inferences about a population. Additionally, the 
information that we gathered on our site visits represents only the 
conditions present in the states and local areas at the time of our 
site visits, conducted from April through September 2004; therefore, 
some changes may have occurred after our fieldwork was completed. 

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