Declining UI Recipiency

HRD-92-34R: Published: Apr 28, 1992. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO commented on the decline in the proportion of unemployed persons that receive unemployment insurance benefits. GAO noted that: (1) the ability of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program to meet its objectives of temporary and partial wage replacement and economic stabilization has been eroded; (2) relative to the level of unemployment, there has been a long-term decline in the amount of UI benefit funds being injected into the economy; (3) the decrease resulted from a decline in the percentage of the unemployed that receive UI benefits; (4) if the UI recipiency rate and benefit payments were at the same level during the 1990-1991 recessionary period as during the 1974-1975 period, about $20 billion more in UI benefits would have been available; and (5) half of the difference was due to a decline in the proportion of unemployed that received regular UI benefits, and the other half to a decrease in the payment of extended benefits.

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