Increasing the maximum number of weeks an individual can claim Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits has been shown to increase the time spent unemployed, which can have negative consequences on the unemployment rate (Rothstein, 2011). On the other hand, an extension of UI benefits allows the unemployed worker more time to search for suitable employment with higher wages that better matches their knowledge and skills (Kahn, 2011). Using UI claims data before, during, and after the recent economic downturn, we found that the length of UI benefit collection affects the likelihood of leaving Wyoming’s labor market. Further, we found that the possibility of collecting extended UI benefits has little effect on a person’s work search intensity. We discuss workforce agency initiatives and program evaluation implications.
The Research & Planning (R&P) section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Service recently published the results of a new study on the issues surrounding occupational shortages. Occupational Shortages in the Construction Industry can be found at http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/w_r_research/constr_2014.pdf.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 4.6% in August to 4.7% in September (not a statistically significant change). Wyoming’s unemployment rate was up slightly from its September 2013 level of 4.6%, but significantly lower than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 5.9%. Seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents decreased slightly, falling by an estimated 242 individuals (-0.1%).