We investigate the uneven pattern of access to unemployment insurance (UI) by age, gender, race, and ethnicity across the United States. We present results from a descriptive analysis using publicly available data reported by states over time on rates of UI recipiency and characteristics of UI beneficiaries. Recipiency measures the proportion of all unemployed who are receiving UI benefits. We find suggestive evidence that UI recipiency shares are lower than unemployment shares for females, youth, and Blacks. We offer program reforms that could be adopted by all states and required by the federal government to improve UI recipiency rates.
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