Friday, August 27, 2021

In 8 days: Biggest Weekly/Monthly Reduction in Unemployment Insurance in Oregon History.

I’ve looked at existing unemployment insurance benefit data and have confirmed that the upcoming September 4th projected 81,000 person reduction in unemployment insurance benefits (because of the ending of the PUA and PEUC programs) is the largest in Oregon history. 

A reduction of this magnitude would cut the number of unemployment insurance beneficiaries by 2/3rds in Oregon. (About 40,000 are receiving regular unemployment insurance, so the total UI recipients is about 120,000). 

Largest Prior Reduction in December 2013: 17,800 persons/27%

The largest prior Oregon reduction I could find was in December 2013 when 17,800 people were projected to lose their unemployment insurance because of the elimination of a another special program, the extended unemployment insurance program.

A December 2013 Oregonian news story said that 20,000 Oregonians were receiving those extended benefits but 2,200 would be able to switch to regular unemployment insurance; so a net reduction of 17,800. This is very similar to the current projection that 11,000 current PUA/PEUC recipients may be able to switch to regular unemployment insurance. (Oregonian story: Cutoff of aid nears for 17,800 in Oregon - Oregonian, December 14, 2013 - page 06, Molly Young). 

The Oregonian story didn't include information on the number of Oregonians receiving regular insurance in December 2013. 

I looked at DOL data and it appears that 202,000 payments during the month were made for regular insurance in Oregon. So in December 2013 on a weekly basis about 46,000 people were receiving regular unemployment insurance in Oregon. Adding in the 20,000 receiving extended unemployment insurance yields a total of 66,000 receiving unemployment insurance in December 2013.

A reduction of 17,800 persons because of the elimination of the extended unemployment insurance in December 2013 would be a much smaller 27% reduction in all receiving unemployment insurance vs. the projected 81,000 person/66% reduction on September 4th.  

OED Confirmation and Their Comment

I solicited a confirmation from OED and they confirmed my assessment and provided this context:

"The reason we are seeing the biggest reduction is because the pandemic also saw the highest number of people receiving benefits, including groups, like the self-employed, who have historically been ineligible for unemployment insurance. So, while accurate, your statement is not a true apples to apples comparison, and we hope you would include his important context in your blog."

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog. 

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