Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a state-federal program established in 1935 to insure workers against brief spells of involuntary job loss.

In recent years, critics have argued that UI does too little to address the problems faced by dislocated workers and tends to exclude workers who do not have a traditional full-time, full-year work history, particularly low-wage women. Upjohn researchers are examining other strategies—including work sharing and short-time compensation—to determine their effectiveness for both workers and employers.

Through independent and collaborative research, the Upjohn Institute continues to seek greater understanding of the best ways to replace income lost through unemployment and to promote speedy reemployment.


CARES Act provided a lifeline to low-wage workers and the economy

September 9, 2020 · Research Highlight
Pandemic benefits gave the lowest quarter of earners a weekly pay boost of 20 percent or more, paper finds.

Addressing unemployment and poverty: A Labor Day message from Upjohn Institute President Michael Horrigan

September 4, 2020 · Research Highlight
Michael Horrigan: Getting America back to work with the dignity that every American worker deserves on this and every Labor Day.

All Research

Reforming Unemployment Insurance

April 1, 2020 · Research

State unemployment insurance reserves won't be enough for a recession

March 23, 2020 · Research Highlight
An average recession would cause 18 states to exhaust their unemployment insurance reserves.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance would help gig, contract, self-employed workers affected by COVID-19

March 19, 2020 · Research Highlight
DUA is normally paid to workers who lose their jobs, but do not qualify for regular UI benefits

An Unemployment Insurance COVID-19 Crisis Response

March 12, 2020 · Research Highlight

Unemployment insurance reforms reduce layoffs

February 25, 2020 · Research Highlight