Building States’ Labor Infrastructure

Like the initial rounds of stimulus payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, provides a federal supplement to the weekly unemployment insurance benefits for millions of Americans. However, since the historic number of unemployment insurance claims began last April, the underlying problem delaying payments to those that have suffered job loss has yet to be addressed. 

Nearly one year after Congress passed the most expansive effort to address mass unemployment in America’s history, many states continue to struggle to provide qualifying Americans with unemployment benefits. Since April 2020, an average of 12.2 million Americans have received unemployment benefits every month. Yet, speaking with them or the monthly average of 2.4 million unemployed workers that have not received unemployment benefits, you will learn of the widespread issues involving mistaken benefit denials, the under and over-payment of benefits, and the multi-hour phone call queues. 

The core challenge faced by all states and territories in implementing federally expanded unemployment benefits is inadequate infrastructure -particularly -technological and administrative. These two infrastructures are the foundation for quickly and efficiently processing and adjudicating unemployment claims.