Report

A plan to reform the Unemployment Insurance system in the United States

Abstract

The unemployment insurance (UI) system has played an important role in delivering relief during the current pandemic.

At the same time, this experience has highlighted the important challenges facing the UI system due to poor and underfunded administrative capacities, too few unemployed workers qualifying for UI benefits, inadequate levels of regular UI benefits, lack of effective triggers to tie benefit duration to economic conditions, and meager utilization of work sharing programs. In this proposal, I suggest remedies for each of these problems, and argue that these remedies are best achieved through converting the UI system to a fully federal program.