Will Unemployment Insurance Be Reformed? Ask Businesses, Not Workers

commentary

Sep 15, 2021

President Biden listens to co-owner Mike Siegel as he visits WS Jenks and Sons hardware store, a small business that has benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan, in Washington, D.C., March 9, 2021, photo by Yuri Gripas/Pool/Sipa USA/Reuters

President Biden listens to co-owner Mike Siegel as he visits WS Jenks and Sons hardware store, a small business that has benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan, in Washington, D.C., March 9, 2021

Photo by Yuri Gripas/Pool/Sipa USA/Reuters

This commentary originally appeared on New York Times on September 13, 2021.

The unprecedented federal action to prop up unemployment insurance system during the pandemic wound down last week even as the pace of hiring in the United States slowed dramatically. The wind-down affected nearly 12 million workers—an estimated 5.1 million self-employed, contract, and gig workers and 3.8 million long-term unemployed people who lost benefits completely, and three million (PDF) who kept benefits but lost the $300 weekly federal supplement—bringing the programs created by last March's CARES Act and renewed by this March's American Rescue Plan Act to an end.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at nytimes.com.


Kathryn Edwards is a labor economist at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research focuses on the interaction of public programs, labor supply, and earnings.

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