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Utah's unemployment fund could be strained by COVID-19 crisis

Posted at 6:59 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 20:59:03-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has one of the most financially solvent Unemployment Insurance Funds in the nation, according to the Federal Department of Labor.

With well over a billion dollars in trust, the state got a better solvency rating in the Department’s annual report for 2020 than all but nine other states.

Unfortunately, that means Utah only has enough money to last about 7 months if current unemployment claims hold steady.

The Tax Foundation has kept updated estimates of each state’s ability to pay out traditional unemployment benefits. After the latest announcements of initial claims, they estimate Utah’s fund would last 30 weeks.

These estimates pertain to the solvency of the traditional employment system which is funded by employers’ contributions. The federal CARES act created separate streams of money providing an extra $600 weekly for each unemployment recipient and a Pandemic Unemployment Program for freelance workers, part-time workers, and the self-employed who lost their income due to the Covid-19 crisis.