Tennesseans are filing for unemployment in record numbers, yet a new report from the Sycamore Institute says the state’s unemployment benefits and related employer taxes are among the lowest in the nation.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues with a potential second wave expected, more families are relying on unemployment insurance to stay financially afloat. Sycamore policy director Mandy Pellegrin said COVID-19 has left many wondering what the future holds for the state’s system.
“Over the last two decades, Tennesseans have been less likely than other out-of-work Americans in other states to get unemployment benefits,” Pellegrin said. “In other words, our recipiency rate is fairly low. And at the same time that that’s been going on, the value of the benefits that Tennesseans receive from the program has fallen.”
According to the report, Tennessee’s unemployment insurance program provided benefits to around 21% of unemployed workers during the first quarter of 2020. The state currently ranks in the bottom eight among states for the number of out-of-work residents who are receiving benefits.
Photo: Research shows unemployment insurance can help stabilize family finances and economic activity when people lose jobs. (Adobe Stock)