Congress Has Never Let UI Benefits Expire With Such a High Unemployment RateJune 30, 2010 - by Donny Shaw
The National Employment Law Project and the Center for American Progress are out with a new report today that explains just what a historical anomaly Congress’s failure to extend unemployment insurance benefits is given the dismal state of the jobs market.
Never before has Congress cut off benefits when unemployment was so high. Since the 1950s, federal unemployment insurance extensions remained in place during recessionary periods until unemployment dropped to as low as 5.0 percent. The highest unemployment rate at which these extensions were allowed to expire was 7.2 percent, following the 1983 recession—substantially lower than our current rate of 9.7 percent.
The report is mostly a series of arguments in favor of Congress passing an extension, but it’s also a great resource for getting an overview of how the extended unemployment insurance system works and what is at stake on a state-by-state basis if Congress does not pass another extension.
Democrats in both chambers of Congress are trying once again to pass an extension today. See this blog post for all the information you need to follow the votes.