The level of UI recipients is historically high due in part to the 73 weeks of extension benefits available to most claimants. During non-recessionary years, most claimants qualify for only 26 weeks of benefits. Regular claim levels were high, but declined over the year. This indicates that newly unemployed were getting back to work, but the long-term unemployed were still struggling. In 2011, 42 percent of claimants were compensated for six or fewer months on their claim, while 58 percent received benefits for longer periods. By the end of 2011, over 50,000 people had exhasuted all of their benefits since 2009. Though this number is very high, it represents only 7 percent of those who started a claim and could have exhausted 99 weeks of benefits since 2008. Many claimants are still eligible to claim benefits on older claims, so this percentage is preliminary.
According to the Current Population Survey, men make up between 52 percent and 54 percent of the Oregon labor force. In contrast, 60 percent of UI recipients in 2011 were male. The percentage of male recipients rose from 2006 through 2009, and then dropped from 64 percent in 2009 to 60 percent in 2011.
The growth in the share of men receiving benefits reflects the deep employment cuts in these male-dominated industries early in the recession. In 2009, the share of recipients whose last major employment was in the construction or manufacturing industry was 15 percent and 23 percent, respectively. These percentages dropped to near pre-recessionary shares of 14 percent and 15 percent in 2011. This trend can also be seen in data from a monthly Employment and Training Administration (ETA) report. Graph 2 shows the trends in unemployed from these industries from 2001 through 2011. At the same time, two female-dominated industries - health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services - saw shares grow from 6 percent and 7 percent in 2009 to 9 percent and 8 percent in 2011, which are closer to pre-recessionary levels.
The percentage of claimants who are ages 60 and over has continued to grow. Before this recession this age group made up around 1 percent of claimants. In 2011, 12 percent of claimants were ages 60 and over. The highest levels of unemployment for those ages 60 and over were in rural Oregon.
The majority of claimants have a high school diploma or less. Though the industries that have been more heavily hit during this recession have been those that rely on workers with on-the-job training, workers with higher education have not been immune - nearly 15 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits had a bachelors degree or higher. The percentage of college educated unemployed has grown as the recovery has stalled.
The unemployment insurance program has numerous reports that come out weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. One of the monthly reports is on the demographics of claimants on regular benefits who were unemployed during the week of the 12th of the month. Regular benefits are the benefits available to all covered employees during all periods. Looking at regular claim activity allows you to compare claim trends during periods when there are and are not extension programs. Data from this report is used to underscore some of the trends observed in comparisons between the 1099g data.