We combine state-level UI regulations with data containing detailed information on individuals’ work history and UI receipt. Black individuals who separate from a job are 24% less likely to receive UI than White individuals. The UI receipt gap stems primarily from lower take-up of UI benefits among likely eligible individuals, as opposed to differences in benefit eligibility. Statistical decompositions indicate that about one-half of the take-up gap is explained by Black workers’ lower pre-unemployment earnings and higher tendency to live in the South.
Racial Inequality in Unemployment Insurance Receipt and Take-Up
WP 22-09 – This paper studies differences in the receipt of unemployment insurance benefits among White and Black individuals.