ETA issues UIPL about new methodology used to calculate “on” and “off” triggers for EB purposes

The Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) to inform the states of the new methodology used to calculate the “on” or “off” total unemployment rate (TUR) indicators to determine when extended benefit (EB) periods begin and end in a state. The DOL now will use the following method of computing the current rate as a percentage of the comparable rate in prior years (look-back) for the TUR indicator: On a monthly basis, the three-month average, seasonally adjusted rate of total unemployment will be divided by the same measure for the corresponding three months in each of the applicable prior years, that is, either a two- or three-year look-back, as specified in state law. The resultant decimal fraction then will be rounded to the hundredths place (the second digit to the right of the decimal place). The resulting number then will be multiplied by 100 and reported as an integer and compared to the statutory threshold to determine the state’s trigger status. Note that in order to give full effect to this methodology, and to ensure that all unemployed individuals who are eligible to receive EB are paid in a timely manner, the DOL is implementing the methodology described above retroactive to April 16, 2011. Copies of this UIPL may be obtained at http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/ (UIPL 16-11, 5/20/2011).