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So you want to be an unemployment insurance nerd

Where and how to dive deeper into the data

May 8, 2019


Tu-Uyen Tran Senior Writer
So you want to be an unemployment insurance nerd

If you want to take a deeper dive into the data around unemployment insurance, an Excel spreadsheet is available for download.

Included are three tables with raw data from the U.S. Department of Labor and other sources, and three tables summarizing the data for easier viewing.

Data-UI is a sheet with all tables found in the ET Financial Data Handbook 394, published by the department’s Employment and Training Administration. This data set encompasses all states and territories with unemployment insurance programs from 1938 to 2017. A glossary is included in the spreadsheet.

Some data from the end of 2018 are available from the administration’s State Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Solvency Report 2019.

To give context to the unemployment insurance data, Data-unemploy provides unemployment statistics for states and the nation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data-natl recessions provides the dates of national recessions as defined by the National Bureau for Economic Research, a nonprofit research group. Sources are listed in each of the raw data tables.

The summaries attempt to organize the raw data in an easier-to- digest form. Each has cells highlighted in yellow where users can select different kinds of data for display.

Summary-main shows how much money is in each state or territory’s trust fund and how much ought to be in it if the fund is to be ready for the next recession, based on Labor Department guidelines. Other data are included for context. Users can select one state or territory and a second state or territory for comparison. Note that one of the options is the United States; this provides totals and averages for all states and territories.

Summary-main also provides a series of charts that automatically update based on the user’s selection.

Summary-mechanics is an under-the-hood look at how some of the data were calculated, such as inflation adjustments and trust fund solvency levels.

Summary-1 col-all states is a summary of the Financial Data Handbook where users can select one column and view the data from that column for all states and all available years. Summary-1 state-all cols is a summary of the Handbook where users can select one state and view the data from all columns for all available years. Both of these summaries provide the data without any adjustments.

Main Article

Are Ninth District states’ unemployment trust funds ready for a downturn?

Low on funds, many borrowed from feds to pay benefits in the Great Recession

Snapshot: A state-by-state look at solvency

Here’s where each of the Ninth District’s states stands with its unemployment insurance trust funds, its taxes, and its benefits

Unemployment insurance’s roots lie in Ninth District

Then FDR’s New Deal embraced the idea

A primer on unemployment insurance

How does it work? Who pays? Who benefits?

Tu-Uyen Tran
Senior Writer

Tu-Uyen Tran is the senior writer in the Minneapolis Fed’s Public Affairs department. He specializes in deeply reported, data-driven articles. Before joining the Bank in 2018, Tu-Uyen was an editor and reporter in Fargo, Grand Forks, and Seattle.