Skip to main content

Lessons Learned from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Should Be Applied to Permanent Reforms of Unemployment Insurance

Key Points:
PUA helped millions of working Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic
PUA covered workers excluded from America’s antiquated UI system
It is time to reform UI to give every unemployed worker access to reliable assistance while they are searching for a new job

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, emergency Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs helped keep the economy afloat and provided a critical lifeline for millions of Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Emergency UI programs, which were created under the CARES Act in March 2020, were designed to stabilize both the economy and households by replacing enough of unemployed workers’ lost income so they could continue to put food on the table, remain stably housed and pay their bills. By helping more unemployed people make ends meet, emergency UI spending supported local businesses and helped stabilize the whole economy during the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The demand for these emergency UI programs demonstrated not only the depth of the pandemic recession, but also the weaknesses of the regular UI system.

Click here to read the full brief.