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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Extending Unemployment Compensation Benefits During Recessions

Julie M. Whittaker
Specialist in Income Security

Katelin P. Isaacs
Analyst in Income Security

This report describes the history of temporary federal extensions to unemployment benefits from 1980 to the present. Among these extensions is the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program created by P.L. 110-252 (amended by P.L. 110-449, P.L. 111-5, P.L. 111-92, P.L. 111-118, P.L. 111-144, P.L. 111-157, P.L. 111-205, and P.L. 111-312).

This report contains five sections. The first section provides background information on unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. It also provides a brief summary of UC benefit exhaustion and how exhaustion rates are related to the business cycle.

The second section provides the definition of a recession as well as the determination process for declaring a recession. It also provides information on the timing of all recessions since 1980.

The third section summarizes the legislative history of federal extensions of unemployment benefits. It includes information on the permanently authorized extended benefit (EB) program as well as information on temporary unemployment benefit extensions. It also includes a brief discussion on the role of extended unemployment benefits as part of an economic stimulus package.

The fourth section provides figures examining the timing of recessions and statistics that may be considered for determining extending unemployment benefits.

The fifth section briefly discusses previous methods for financing these temporary programs. In particular it attempts to identify provisions in temporary extension legislation that may have led to increases in revenue or decreases in spending related to unemployment benefits.

Date of Report: January 4, 2011
Number of Pages: 33
Order Number: RL34340
Price: $29.95

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