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Extensions to Unemployment Insurance Extended the Duration of Claims

The average duration of unemployment insurance (UI) claims was longer in May 2021 than in May 2020. In this essay, economist Amanda M. Michaud explains a possible reason—the expansion of UI benefits such as through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. She finds that the typical claimant of that program claimed 9.5 to 11.5 more weeks of benefits than the typical claimant claimed through regular state UI programs.