Michaelides, M., Poe-Yamagata, E., Benus, J., & Tirumalasetti, D. (2012). Impact of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Initiative in Nevada. Columbia, MD: IMPAQ International, LLC.
- The study’s objective was to estimate the impact of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Initiative in Nevada on Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits receipt, employment, and earnings after six quarters.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial. Of some 33,000 first-time UI claimants eligible for the study, about 5,100 were randomly assigned to the treatment group, which had to take part in REA and reemployment services (RES) to retain UI eligibility, and the rest were randomly assigned to the control group, which was not required to participate in such services. The authors compared state administrative records on UI payments and covered employment of the two groups to estimate the program’s effectiveness.
- The study found that, in the first six calendar quarters following the initial claim, REA services substantially reduced the average duration and amount of UI benefits receipt, increased employment rates, and increased earnings.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this study is high because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the REA services, and not other factors.
Reemployment Eligibility Assessment
Features of the Intervention
Since its inception in 2005, 40 states have implemented the REA initiative to encourage rapid reemployment of UI claimants through a combination of in-person eligibility reviews and employment-focused case management. In the Nevada version of REA, active treatment units were required to receive not only REA services but also RES, which were provided by the same staff. REA services included an individual assessment, orientation to the One-Stop Career Center (now known as American Job Center), provision of labor market information, a workforce service workshop, and development of an individual reemployment plan. RES services included job search and resume assistance, job matching against state and federal position databases, and provision of information regarding job training options.
To be eligible for the program, Nevada residents had to be filing first-time UI claims, had received at least one week of benefits under the new claim, had no scheduled return to a previous employer, were not concurrently participating in other training programs, had no exclusive union hiring hall agreements, and were not part of the Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services program.
Features of the Study
Following an earlier cross-state report, which found that the Nevada REA program was particularly successful in reducing UI benefits receipt in the 12 to18 months after random assignment, the Department of Labor commissioned this follow-up study to estimate longer-term impacts on UI receipt over 21 to 26 months, as well as employment outcomes in the 18 months after random assignment. From July to December 2009, 32,751 first-time UI claimants were determined to be eligible for the program; of these, 5,157 were randomly assigned to the treatment group, which was required to receive REA and RES services. The remaining eligible claimants were assigned to the control group, which was not required to receive REA or RES but had to continue the usual requirements for UI claimants, such as weekly claims filing, conducting an independent job search, and being subject to random quality assurance evaluation. If desired, the control group members could seek out RES on their own.
Administrative data on UI benefits receipt, employment, and earnings were collected for six quarters following enrollment in the program for each claimant. For UI benefits receipt, the authors examined regular UI and Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), which was also in effect during the period of study. The authors used a regression model to estimate the impacts of the REA program on various UI benefits receipt outcomes, employment, and earnings. The regression models controlled for gender, race, education, age, occupation group, citizenship, veterans’ status, disability status, maximum UI benefits amount, weeks of UI eligibility, the One-Stop Career Center (now American Job Center) at which the claimant filed his or her claim, the date of the original claim, and prior wage earnings.
Public benefits receipt
- REA group members were about 10 percent less likely to exhaust regular UI benefits and 9 percent less likely to receive EUC benefits, compared to the control group.
- On average, REA group members received 3.13 fewer weeks of regular UI and EUC than the control group.
- REA group members received $873 less in total UI benefits—$536 less in regular UI payments and $337 less in EUC payments—than control group members.
- REA group members were significantly more likely to be employed (have any wage earnings) in each of the six follow-up quarters than the control group, ranging from 8.1 percent more likely in the second quarter after their claims to 4.3 percent more likely in the sixth quarter after their claims.
Earnings and wages
- In total, the average REA group member earned $2,611 more across the first six post-filing quarters than did the average control group member.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
During the period of this study, the average annual state unemployment rate reached 13.9 percent, a 25-year record high in the state and the second highest in the nation. This exceptionally high unemployment rate triggered eligibility for weeks of benefits in addition to those available through the regular UI program. It is possible that these additional weeks of available benefits gave the program more opportunities to make an impact on the duration of UI benefits receipt, and that such impacts would not be observed during a time of lower unemployment.
This study examines the effect of the combination of REA and RES and thus does not reflect the efficacy of REA in isolation (although the control group was still eligible to receive RES).
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this study is high because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the REA services, and not other factors.
Michaelides, M., & Mueser, P. (2018). Are Reemployment Services Effective? Experimental Evidence from the Great Recession. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 37(3), 546-570.