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Most unemployed people in 2022 did not apply for unemployment insurance benefits

April 14, 2023

In 2022, 26 percent of unemployed people who had worked in the previous 12 months applied for unemployment insurance benefits since separating from their last job. Of the unemployed who had not applied, just over half (55 percent) did not apply because they did not believe they were eligible to receive benefits. Eligibility issues include: their work was not covered by unemployment insurance, they quit their job, they were terminated for misconduct, they had insufficient past work, or they had previously exhausted their benefits.

Percent distribution of unemployed people who had worked in the past 12 months but did not apply for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits by their main reason for not applying for benefits, 2022
Reason unemployed people did not apply for UI benefits Percent

Eligibility issues

55.1

Other reasons for not applying for UI benefits

30.8

Attitude about or barrier to applying for UI benefits

10.2

Reason not provided

3.9

About 17 percent of the unemployed did not apply because they expected to start working soon. Another 10 percent cited attitudes about or barriers to applying, such as they did not need the money, had a negative attitude about unemployment insurance, did not know about unemployment insurance, or had problems with the application process. Four percent of unemployed people who had not applied for benefits did not provide a reason for not applying.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see “Characteristics of Unemployment Insurance Applicants and Benefit Recipients — 2022” and our answers to frequently asked questions about unemployment insurance. Data refer to unemployed people who worked in the past 12 months. Estimates are an average of data collected in February and May 2022.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Most unemployed people in 2022 did not apply for unemployment insurance benefits at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/most-unemployed-people-in-2022-did-not-apply-for-unemployment-insurance-benefits.htm (visited December 11, 2023).

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