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The Economic Impact of Unemployment Insurance

For over 75 years, the Unemployment Insurance system has helped workers, families, and the American economy get back on their feet. In 2009 and 2010, congress strengthened unemployment insurance for those out of work longer than six months, and helped 17 million people as our nation recovered from the deepest recession since the Great Depression. In December of last year, the President brokered a bi-partisan compromise that extended the current system through February, keeping over 2 million Americans from losing this lifeline in the first two months of 2012.

Without action from Congress by the end of February, 4.5 million people –who lost their jobs through no fault of their own – would be left without the support they desperately need. In addition, 8.3 million people, including 3.2 million children, currently living in households with individuals who would exhaust benefits would be adversely affected.

Unemployment Insurance doesn't just help you or your neighbor, it helps entire communities.

  • According to the Census Bureau estimates, unemployment insurance kept 3.2 million Americans from falling below the poverty line in 2010 alone.
  • A study commissioned by the Labor Department under the Bush administration showed that for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, two dollars are pumped back into the economy.
  • The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that in 2009 and 2010, GDP was boosted by 0.8% and 800,000 more jobs were created as a result of unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Failure to act would mean sudden and severe consequences for American families and the American economy.

  • Four-and-a-half million people would lose these benefits in 2012, including more than 1 million in March alone.
  • A full extension of current benefits through 2012 would generate about $67 billion in economic activity over the 2012-2013 period, as benefits ripple through the economy. This is activity that would be lost without an extension.
  • The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that the economy will generate nearly 500,000 fewer jobs through 2014 if federally funded unemployment insurance benefits aren't extended.

View the maps below to see how your state would be affected and for more on how unemployment insurance helps economic recovery, read the latest report from the Council of Economic Advisers, the National Economic Council, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Department of Labor.

Images include U.S.A. maps progressing through time showing increases in the number of claimants impacted by a delay in extending EUC.

Images include U.S.A. maps progressing through time showing increases in the number of claimants impacted by a delay in extending EUC.