The Arkansas legislature has repeatedly reduced the amount of unemployment insurance available to Arkansas workers, lowering both the duration of coverage and the dollar amount of benefits. This puts us well below national averages for unemployment benefits, and puts families and our economy at risk. This might not seem like a big problem given our current record-low unemployment rates, but now is exactly the time to worry about how well our unemployment insurance program is set up to weather an economic storm. High unemployment will arrive at some point, and many workers are still not getting the support they need.
The unemployment insurance program provides a reduced temporary income to workers who have been laid off from their jobs through no fault of their own, and acts as an economic counterbalance for the economy when times are lean. So, even if you never lose your job, you could be hurt by our state’s inability to bounce back from an economic downturn. It is projected that for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits, two dollars comes back into the economy. The program is an effective and important protection for our businesses and employees. That is, unless benefits are remarkably reduced, as they have been in Arkansas.
Read more about Arkansas’s unemployment insurance program and how it should be improved in our most recent publication, Unemployment Insurance Pays Off, released today.
Questions or comments? Contact the report’s author here!