Examines the response of state workforce agencies in providing public workforce and unemployment insurance services to unemployed workers before, during, and after the recent recession.

“Using state-level administrative data, this chapter examines the response of state workforce agencies in providing public workforce and unemployment insurance services to unemployment workers before, during, and after the recent recession. It tracks participant flows, service receipts, expenditures, and outcomes of the major workforce programs during this period. It also compares changes in the flow of services with changes in expenditures” (p.237). Administrative data used in this report comes from… the U.S. Department of Labor’s reporting system…and “the three largest federally funded workforce programs: Unemployment Insurance (UI), Wagner-Peyser Act Employment Service (ES), and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs for Adults and for Dislocated Workers (DW).The data are collected quarterly for each state, the District of Columbia, and territories, and are compiled in a database called the Public Workforce System Dataset (PWSD)” (p.239). (Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Data Analysis of the Implementation of the Recovery Act: Workforce Development and Unemployment Insurance Provisions


Major Findings & Recommendations

• “According to data on initial claims and benefit payouts, the unemployment insurance program was severely tested during the recent recession. It paid out more benefits to more unemployed workers for longer periods of time than it ever had in its 80 year history. Benefit payments quintupled from $31 billion in Fiscal Year 2006 to $156 billion in FY 2010.The unemployed receiving first payments doubled from 7.4 million in FY 2006 to 14.4 million in FY 2009.The number of regular UI beneficiaries exhausting their entitlement to benefits increased from 2.6 million in FY 2006 to 7.0 million in FY 2010” (p.240). • “This chapter demonstrates that the American workforce system responded to the needs of workers during the recent recession by spending available Recovery Act funds expeditiously to provide reemployment and training services to the influx of participants into three workforce programs – Employment Service, WIA Adult, and WIA Dislocated Worker. However, increases in the number of participants were greater than increases in the funds available through the Recovery Act and regular appropriations, forcing states to substitute proportionately more lower-cost services for higher-cost staff-assisted services such as training and counseling” (p.275-276). • “…[T]he flows of workforce services did not keep pace with the needs of unemployed workers. Recovery Act funds only partially compensated for the increase in participants during and immediately after the recession. As a result, workforce programs did not serve participants with the same level or type of service that was provided before the recession” (p.276). • “In general, funding for public workforce services was inadequate to avoid a substantial decline in nominal per-participant spending that had already been developing before the recession and that continued during and after it” (p.276). • “…[A]n additional $8.5 billion would have been needed to accommodate the influx of participants into the three programs during the Recovery Act period at the prerecessional level of service, as measured by the expenditures per participant” (p.276). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)