LOUISIANA BUDGET PROJECT - Reducing unemployment benefits is punitive and unnecessary
23 May 2023
BLOG LOUISIANA BUDGET PROJECT Reducing unemployment benefits is punitive and unnecessary by Christina LeBlanc, Economic Opportunity Policy Analyst Unemployment benefits are essential to the public safety net and provide critical financial support to Louisiana workers when they lose their job due to no fault of their own. [...] The bill would cut the maximum number of weeks that unemployed workers could receive benefits by tying the duration of benefits to the state unemployment rate over the previous three months. [...] Unemployed people received an average of $224 per week in 2022, more than only Mississippi and Puerto Rico.2 Louisiana’s unemployment benefits replace less of the average worker’s salary than any of its neighbors–covering just 28.9% of the average wage as compared to 33.7% in Arkansas, 33.3% in Mississippi, and 43.6% in Texas.3 By keeping unemployment benefits low enough that they cover less than. [...] Only 24% of workers exhaust their benefits–meaning they use all 26 weeks of unemployment–compared to a national rate of 31.2%.5 North Carolina and Florida, which have tied benefit duration to unemployment rates, shortening effective benefits to just 12 weeks, currently have the highest exhaustion rates in the nation (46.3% and 54.7% respectively), leaving many unemployed workers struggling financi. [...] With high inflation and plenty of economic uncertainty on the horizon, indexing unemployment benefits and cutting unemployment duration hurts Louisiana’s workers and the Louisiana economy.