US Unemployment Insurance Replacement Rates During the Pandemic
23 Pages Posted: 15 May 2020 Last revised: 26 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 24, 2020
We use micro data on earnings together with the details of each state’s unemployment insurance (UI) system to compute the distribution of UI benefits after the uniform $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) supplement implemented by the CARES Act. We find that between April and July 2020, 76% of workers eligible for regular Unemployment Compensation have statutory replacement rates above 100%, meaning that they are eligible for benefits which exceed lost wages. The median statutory replacement rate is 145%. We also compute comprehensive replacement rates, which account for employer provided non-wage compensation and differential tax treatment of labor income and UI. 69% of UI-eligible unemployed have comprehensive replacement rates above 100% and the median comprehensive replacement rate is 134%. The presence of the FPUC has important implications for the incidence of the recession and reverses income patterns which would have otherwise arisen across income levels, occupations, and industries.
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