(UI) can reduce poverty dramatically. The poverty rate for persons in families
who received UI in 2009 was approximately half what it would have been without the
benefit, according to the Congressional Research Service report, Antipoverty Effects of Unemployment
In addition, the
study found that UI’s impact on poverty reduction was about two times greater
in 2009 than in the two prior recessions. The report said this could be the
result of increases in both the level and duration of the
benefit enacted by Congress in response to the Great Recession.
The end result is
that in 2009, UI benefits lifted an estimated 3.3 million people out of
poverty, including nearly one million children living with a family member who
received the benefits.
the recession is technically over (the status of the gross domestic product
largely triggers when the curtain falls on a recession), unemployment remains
stubbornly high at nine percent. It is anticipated that high levels of unemployment
as well as long term joblessness will be “sticky” for some years to come.
these projections and the demonstrated impact of UI on poverty reduction, some
state legislatures have recently enacted cuts in their unemployment insurance programs.
Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, and Missouri shrunk the maximum state benefit below
the standard 26 weeks. In taking this action, these states have reduced
corporate taxes since UI systems are financed through employer contributions.
the federal level, the House Committee on Ways and Means passed a measure last
week that would allow states to redirect $31 billion in federal funding for unemployed
workers into a variety of other initiatives, including tax breaks to
corporations. The measure is unlikely to prevail in the Senate.
arithmetic as laid out in the Congressional Research Service report is clear: subtracting
unemployment insurance for eligible workers increases poverty. As debate heats
up around the politics of UI, we hope those on both sides of the aisle can at
least agree on that basic fact.
Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at
the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty.
From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that
doesn't always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for
our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and their
impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com