Jobless Compensation in Boom and Recession

November 12, 1953

Report Outline
Current Portents of Slowdown in Industry
Jobless Compensation in Years of Prosperity
Question of Adequacy of Present System
Proposals for Change in Unemployment System
Special Focus

How well the present federal-state system of unemployment compensation would weather a prolonged economic recession is a question now under close study by government economists and the staffs of various congressional committees. The subject will come up for debate early in the 1954 session of Congress when the Senate considers a bill passed by the House in July which would establish a federal loan fund to assist states which may encounter difficulties in meeting their obligations to the jobless.

Set up by the Social Security Act of 1935, the unemployment compensation system has now been in full operation for a period just short of 15 years. While the act imposed a federal payroll tax of one per cent in 1936, rising to three per cent in 1938, first payments to the jobless in all states were delayed until 1939. The system has been and remains financially strong, but most of the years since 1939 have been years of substantially full employment, and the system has yet to be tested in anything approaching a nation-wide unemployment emergency.

Past operations of the system are now under study by a task force of specialists set up by the Advisory Board on Economic Growth and Stability of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, The task force is seeking answers to these questions: How well has the system served over the years to regularize employment and to maintain consumer purchasing power in times of recession? Would it prove an effective economic prop in a period of general or prolonged depression? Findings of the task force will provide the basis for future White House decisions on whether changes are needed to make the system a more effective instrument for stabilizing the national economy.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 06, 2020  Universal Basic Income
Mar. 18, 2016  The Gig Economy
Mar. 06, 2012  Youth Unemployment
Jul. 31, 2009  Straining the Safety Net
Apr. 10, 2009  Business Bankruptcy
Mar. 13, 2009  Vanishing Jobs
Apr. 25, 2003  Unemployment Benefits
Jan. 21, 1994  Worker Retraining
Sep. 09, 1988  Help Wanted: Why Jobs Are Hard to Fill
Mar. 18, 1983  The Youth Unemployment Puzzle
Dec. 24, 1982  Federal Jobs Programs
May 28, 1982  America's Employment Outlook
Jun. 27, 1980  Unemployment Compensation
Oct. 14, 1977  Youth Unemployment
Jul. 11, 1975  Underemployment in America
Dec. 16, 1970  Unemployment in Recessions
Mar. 05, 1965  Unemployment Benefits in Times of Prosperity
Apr. 03, 1964  Overtime Pay Rates and Unemployment
Feb. 01, 1961  Unemployment and New Jobs
Jan. 07, 1959  Lag in Employment
Apr. 16, 1958  Emergency Jobless Aid
May 16, 1956  Lay-Off Pay Plans
Nov. 12, 1953  Jobless Compensation in Boom and Recession
Feb. 25, 1949  Defenses Against Unemployment
Jul. 30, 1945  Full Employment
Nov. 25, 1940  Unemployment Compensation
Jul. 10, 1939  Problem of the Migrant Unemployed
May 19, 1936  Unemployment and Recovery
Sep. 02, 1931  Public Employment Exchanges
Aug. 19, 1929  The Stabilization of Employment
Feb. 21, 1928  The Employment Situation in the United States
Jan. 23, 1926  Unemployment Insurance in the United States
Unemployment and Employment Programs