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Economic News Release
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Characteristics of Unemployment Insurance Applicants and Benefit Recipients Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, September 25, 2019 			     USDL-19-1692

Technical information: 	(202) 691-6378 * cpsinfo@bls.gov * www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact: 	  	(202) 691-5902 * PressOffice@bls.gov

(NOTE: This news release was reissued on November 7, 2019, to correct errors
in tables 1, 2, and 3 and in the text of the release. Tables 4 and 5 in this
release were not affected by the error. See the note beginning at the end of
this news release for more information about these changes.) 


		CHARACTERISTICS OF UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPLICANTS AND 
				BENEFIT RECIPIENTS -- 2018


In 2018, about 1 in 4 (26 percent) of the unemployed who worked in the past 12 months had 
applied for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
reported today. Of the unemployed who had not applied, 3 out of 5 did not apply because 
they did not believe they were eligible to receive UI benefits.

Only people who have previously worked are eligible for UI benefits, and they generally 
must apply shortly after their last job. Therefore, estimates presented in this news 
release are restricted to people who had worked at some point in the 12 months prior to the 
survey. In 2018, nearly two-thirds of the unemployed had worked in the last 12 months. 
Other unemployed people, including those who entered the labor force for the first time 
and those who last worked more than a year ago, are excluded from these data.

This information was obtained in a supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS), a 
monthly sample survey of about 60,000 households that provides data on employment and 
unemployment in the United States. This supplement, which was conducted in May and September 
2018, was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Laborís Chief Evaluation Office. Estimates in 
this news release--referred to as 2018 estimates--are averages of data collected in both months. 
The official measure of unemployment from the CPS is based on job search and current 
availability for employment, rather than on application for or receipt of UI benefits. A more 
detailed description of the concepts and definitions used in the supplement is included in 
the Technical Note in this news release.

Highlights from the 2018 data:

   --The majority--74 percent--of unemployed people who worked in the past 12 months had not 
     applied for UI benefits since their last job. Twenty-six percent of unemployed people who 
     worked in the past 12 months had applied for UI benefits. (See table 1.)

   --Unemployed people covered by a union contract on their last job were about twice as likely
     to have applied for UI benefits as those who were not covered: 53 percent versus 24 
     percent. (See table 2.)

   --Among unemployed people who had not applied for UI benefits, 59 percent did not apply 
     because they thought they were ineligible to receive benefits. Another 12 percent cited 
     attitudes about or barriers to applying, such as they did not need the money, they had a 
     negative attitude about UI, they did not know about UI, or they had problems with the 
     application process. (See table 3.)

   --Two-thirds of unemployed people who had applied for UI benefits since their last job 
     received benefits. (See table 1.)

Unemployment Insurance Applicants

In 2018, 26 percent of the unemployed who worked in the past 12 months had applied for UI 
benefits since their last job. (See table 1.)

The likelihood of applying for UI benefits varied by reason for unemployment. Thirty-eight 
percent of job losers and people who completed temporary jobs had applied for UI benefits 
since their last job. The figure was lower for people with other reasons for unemployment: 10 
percent for job leavers and 9 percent for reentrants to the labor force who worked in the last 
year. (Job leavers are unemployed people who left their jobs voluntarily, and reentrants are 
unemployed people who have past work experience but were not in the labor force before beginning 
their current job search.)

People with longer durations of unemployment were more likely to apply for UI benefits than were 
people with shorter durations of joblessness. For example, 38 percent of people looking for work 
for 15 to 26 weeks and 37 percent of those looking for 27 weeks and over had applied for UI 
benefits, compared with 27 percent of those looking for work for 5 to 14 weeks. Those unemployed 
for less than 5 weeks were the least likely to apply for UI benefits, at 17 percent. 

Unemployed men were more likely than unemployed women to have applied for UI benefits (27 percent,
compared with 23 percent). There was little difference in the likelihood of applying for benefits 
by race or Hispanic ethnicity.

The likelihood of applying for UI benefits increased with age. About 7 percent of unemployed 
people ages 16 to 24 had applied since their last job, compared with 32 percent of those ages 25 
to 54 and 37 percent of those 55 years and over. 

In general, unemployed people with higher educational attainment were more likely to have applied
for UI benefits than were those with lower educational attainment. Among unemployed people age 25
and older, 40 percent of those with a bachelorís degree and higher had applied for UI benefits. 
By contrast, 22 percent of those with less than a high school diploma had applied.

Unemployed people with a professional certification or license, who tend to have greater 
educational attainment, were more likely to have applied for UI benefits than those without such a
credential (33 percent, compared with 24 percent).

People last employed in management, professional, and related occupations were the most likely to
have applied for UI benefits (38 percent), compared with people in other major occupational 
groups. Those last employed in service occupations were the least likely to have applied 
(15 percent). (See table 2.)

By industry, unemployed people who last worked in leisure and hospitality (12 percent) and in 
other services (10 percent) were least likely to have applied for UI benefits. In other industries, 
the likelihood of applying ranged from 46 percent for financial activities to 23 percent for 
wholesale and retail trade.

Unemployed people who were covered by a union contract on their last job were about twice as likely 
to have applied for UI benefits, 53 percent compared with 24 percent of those who were not covered.

Reason for Not Applying for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Of the unemployed in 2018 who worked in the last 12 months but did not apply for UI benefits, 59 
percent did not apply because they believed they were ineligible. Eligibility issues include: their 
work was not covered by UI, they quit their job, they were terminated for misconduct, they had 
insufficient past work, and they had previously exhausted their benefits. (See table 3.)

Twelve percent of unemployed people who had not applied for UI benefits had not done so because of 
attitudes about or barriers to applying--for example, they did not need the money or want the 
hassle, they had a negative attitude about UI, they did not know about UI or did not know how to 
apply, or they had problems with the application process.

Another 25 percent of unemployed people who had not applied for UI benefits reported other reasons,
such as they expected to start work soon, they did not apply for personal reasons, or they planned 
to file for benefits soon.

About 5 percent of unemployed people who had not applied for UI benefits did not provide a reason 
for not applying.

Unemployment Insurance Benefit Recipients

In 2018, 66 percent of unemployed people who had applied for UI benefits since their last job 
received benefits. (See table 1.)

Among unemployed applicants, 69 percent of job losers and people who completed temporary jobs 
received benefits. This was higher than the figure of 55 percent for reentrants to the labor force.

Applicants who were unemployed less than 5 weeks were less likely to receive benefits (42 percent)
than were those with longer durations of joblessness. For example, 78 percent of applicants 
unemployed for 27 weeks and over had received benefits.

Men and women who applied for UI benefits were about equally likely to have received benefits
(66 percent and 65 percent, respectively). There was little difference in the likelihood of 
receiving benefits by race or Hispanic ethnicity.

Older applicants were more likely than younger applicants to have received UI benefits since their
last job. Seventy-eight percent of applicants age 55 and older had received UI benefits, compared
with 64 percent of applicants ages 25 to 54.

The majority of applicants age 25 and older had received benefits, regardless of their educational
attainment. For example, about two-thirds of high school graduates (with no college) received 
benefits since their last job. 

Seventy-one percent of applicants with a certification or license had received UI benefits, little
different from the 65 percent of those without a certification or license.

The percentage of applicants who had received benefits ranged from 54 percent for those who last
worked in production, transportation, and material moving occupations to 71 percent for those in 
natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations. (See table 2.)

Applicants who were covered by a union contract in their last job were more likely to have received
UI benefits. About four-fifths (82 percent) of applicants who were covered by a union contract had 
received benefits since their last job, compared with roughly two-thirds (64 percent) of applicants 
who were not covered.

People Marginally Attached to the Labor Force 

Some individuals may be eligible for UI benefits even though they were not classified as unemployed
in the survey. In 2018, 17 percent of people marginally attached to the labor force had applied 
for UI benefits since their last job. (These estimates are restricted to people who had worked in 
the past 12 months.) (See table 4.)

People marginally attached to the labor force are those who are neither employed nor unemployed,
who want a job, have searched for work during the prior 12 months (but not in the last 4 weeks), 
and were available to take a job. If they had looked for work in the last 4 weeks, they would be 
counted as unemployed.

More than half (54 percent) of people marginally attached to the labor force had not applied for UI 
benefits since their last job because they believed they were ineligible to receive benefits. 
Another 14 percent had not applied due to attitudes about or barriers to applying for UI benefits, 
and 23 percent had not applied for UI benefits for other reasons. Nine percent of people marginally
attached to the labor force who had not applied for UI benefits did not provide a reason for not 
applying. (See table 5.)


   ___________________________________________________________________________________________
  |                                                                                           |
  |                                     Data Corrections                                      |
  |                                                                                           |
  | This news release, originally issued on September 25, 2019, contained errors in tables 1, |
  | 2, and 3 and in the text of the release. The estimates in the original news release were  |
  | not correctly restricted to unemployed people who worked in the last 12 months, but also  |
  | included unemployed people who had worked more than 12 months ago.                        |
  |                                                                                           |
  | Estimates in this reissued news release have been restricted to unemployed people who     |
  | worked in the past 12 months. After this correction, the number of unemployed people who  |
  | had worked in the past 12 months was 3.7 million, rather than 5.3 million as originally   |
  | published. The corrected number of unemployed who had applied for UI benefits was         |
  | 947,000, instead of 1.2 million as originally published.                                  |
  |                                                                                           |
  | Although estimates of numbers of the unemployed and the numbers of UI applicants changed  |
  | considerably, most percentages derived from those levels showed little meaningful         |
  | difference, and the key analytical findings in this news release were largely unaffected. |
  | The corrected proportion of unemployed people who applied for UI benefits was 26 percent  |
  | for those who worked in the past 12 months, compared with 23 percent as originally        |
  | published. The share of the unemployed who applied for UI benefits remained roughly 1 in  |
  | 4.                                                                                        |
  |                                                                                           |
  | Estimates of people marginally attached to the labor force, including all data in tables  |
  | 4 and 5, were unaffected by the error.                                                    |
  |___________________________________________________________________________________________|



The PDF version of the news release

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Last Modified Date: November 07, 2019