Demand for Unemployment Benefits in 2011
California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) paid out $17.1 billion in unemployment benefits to 1.2 million jobless Californians in 2011. And while that averages to about $66 million a day, economists today are cautiously optimistic that next year will see a slowdown in the unprecedented numbers that exemplify this Great Recession.
Jobs have been added every month for the past five months, and the unemployment rate continues to drop. At a current 11.1 percent, the unemployment rate is the state’s lowest in almost three years.
- Rate in December 2011 was 11.1 percent
- Rate in December 2010 was 12.5 percent
- Rate in December 2009 was 12.2 percent
Even so, demand for benefits is expected to remain high in 2012. In 2011, the EDD issued 33.2 million UI payments equaling $17.1 billion in benefits.
“Last year, the numbers were staggering, the need undeniable,” said Pam Harris, Director of the EDD. “I’m very proud of everyone here at EDD who worked hard to help those in need. And in the upcoming year, EDD will continue to work tirelessly to provide financial lifelines until this economy recovers.”
Billions Injected Back into the Economy in 2011
The $17.1 billion paid to the jobless last year acted as a stimulus package. It jump-started economies and pumped dollars back into communities. When claimants spent their unemployment benefits dollars on items like housing, clothing, food, and gas, they provided instant cash infusions into local economies still suffering from relentless economic pressures.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) estimates the economic multiplier is $2 for every dollar paid out in UI benefits, so that’s about $34 billion put back into the general economy last year.
By the Numbers
EDD made these improvements and others in 2011:
- Implemented a new call center system to enhance the EDD’s phone services, resulting in improved access for claimants and offering them more efficient self-service phone options. The upgrade also provides a more flexible and responsive infrastructure to help EDD better manage peak phone periods.
- Went from paying benefits by paper checks to a faster, more convenient, and more secure way of delivering benefits through a debit card system (EDD Debit CardSM) – close to 1.7 million UI debit card accounts have been established since the debit card implementation in July 2011.
- Launched an online campaign to promote various EDD services, such as the eApply4UI online application to file a claim, the EDD Tele‑CertSM and EDD Web‑CertSM for certifying for continued benefits versus the existing paper method through the mail, and the new EDD Debit CardSM for paying unemployment and disability benefits.
- Released a new section titled “Tip of the Week” on the EDD website to provide customers information on various EDD services.
- Released a California Training Benefits (CTB) Program Educational Video to assist customers interested in the CTB program.
- Developed a fact sheet and an Employer Tip Sheet to inform the public of the upcoming implementation of the Alternate Base Period program in April 2012.
As 2012 unfolds, the EDD will continue to improve its systems to give clients easier and better access in starting and managing their UI claims.
For more information on UI and EDD innovations, visit the EDD website.