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News from EPI Expansion of UI system during recession has supported 1.7 million jobs

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Contact: Karen Conner or Eve Turow, 202-775-8810

The expansion of the unemployment insurance system has saved or created 1.7 million full-time equivalent positions since the beginning of the recession in 2007, a new report by the Economic Policy Institute finds.  Unemployment benefits give unemployed workers needed financial support to cope after the loss of a job, and they are also one of the most effective mechanisms for injecting spending into the economy.

The report, Two for the Price of One, by EPI researchers Lawrence Mishel and Heidi Shierholz, finds that increased unemployment insurance benefits, including expanded health insurance subsidies, have raised gross domestic spending (GDP) by 1.7%, or $244.8 billion.  The Recovery Act, which extended unemployment insurance benefits beyond 26 weeks, gave recipients an additional $25 a week, and provided subsidies to cover the cost of health insurance, was responsible for 1.2 million full-time equivalent positions alone.