Restricting Trade Act Benefits to Import-Affected Workers Who Cannot Find a Job Can Save Millions

HRD-80-11: Published: Jan 15, 1980. Publicly Released: Jan 15, 1980.

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The worker adjustment assistance program provides weekly cash payments, training, and employment services to workers whose employment is affected by import competition. Workers whose jobs are adversely affected by import competition can receive benefits under the Trade Act of 1974: weekly cash allowances; employment services, including counseling, training, and job referral; and job search and relocation allowances.

Weekly cash payments have helped few workers adjust their changed economic conditions during their layoff because the payments were received by most in the form of a lump-sum after they had returned to work. Most workers indicated that they experienced no severe economic hardship as a result of their layoff and were able to rely on unemployment insurance benefits and other resources to meet their financial needs. Thus, most workers achieved the adjustment envisioned under the Trade Act without the cash assistance provided by it. However, some remained unemployed even after exhausting their unemployment insurance benefits. Few import-affected workers used employment services and job search and relation allowances because they were not aware the services were available to them, had little need for the services because they returned to work or expected to return to work for their former employer, or were willing to move to take advantage of another job in another community. Workers waited an average of 488 days after layoff before receiving cash benefits. This resulted from delays at virtually every stage in the benefit delivery process.

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