Absence of conflict of interest: This study was conducted by staff from Mathematica Policy Research, which administers CLEAR. Therefore, the review of this study was conducted by an independent consultant trained in applying the CLEAR causal evidence guidelines.
Corson, W., & Haimson, J. (1996). The New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Reemployment Demonstration Project: Six-year follow-up and summary report. Revised edition. Unemployment Insurance Occasional Paper 96-2. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
- The study’s objective was to examine the long-term impacts of the New Jersey Unemployment Insurance Reemployment Demonstration Project on the unemployment insurance (UI) receipt, employment, and earnings of UI claimants in New Jersey approximately six years after program enrollment.
- In this demonstration, about 11,000 UI claimants were randomized into one of three treatment groups, all of which received some variation of Job Search Assistance (JSA) services, or into the control group, which could receive only existing services in the community. For all participants, the study team collected administrative data, which provided information on UI receipt, employment, and earnings.
- The study found that the treatment group that received JSA services and a reemployment bonus had a statistically significant reduction in UI dollars received and UI weeks paid, compared with the control group. There were no significant impacts on the probability of working, level of earnings, or weeks worked in the long run for any of the treatment groups.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report 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 interventions studied, and not to other factors.
Features of the Intervention
Implemented in 10 randomly selected UI offices across New Jersey, the demonstration mandated participation in JSA services for displaced workers who were recently unemployed to foster their quick reemployment. The demonstration had three service offerings: (1) JSA only, (2) JSA plus training or relocation services, and (3) JSA plus a reemployment bonus. All three interventions shared the same JSA components: an orientation session and testing; five half-day job-search workshop sessions at local New Jersey UI offices; a one-on-one counseling and assessment session with office staff; and a requirement to maintain contact with the demonstration office, either by discussing job-search activities with office staff or using the office’s resource center to conduct job-search activities.
The JSA-only group received no services other than JSA services. In the JSA-plus-training group, staff informed participants about training and relocation services available and helped participants plan their training options. In the JSA-plus-reemployment-bonus group, participants who became reemployed quickly received a bonus equal to one-half of their remaining UI entitlement at the time of the assessment if they found employment within two weeks. The bonus declined in value by 10 percent of the original amount per week. Participants received 60 percent of the bonus if they held the job for four weeks; they received all of it if they were employed for 12 weeks. Bonuses were not available to claimants who were rehired by their former employers; were employed by a relative; or were in temporary, seasonal, or part-time work.
Eligibility screening for the demonstration excluded claimants who (1) had not received their first UI payment, had their first payment more than five weeks after their initial claim, had a partial first payment, or a special type of claim (such as a claim by an ex-service member); (2) were younger than 25 years old; (3) had been on their previous job for fewer than three years; (4) had a specific date for being recalled by their former employers; and (5) were typically hired through union hiring halls.
Features of the Study
All those eligible for the demonstration were randomly assigned to the JSA-only group (2,416 participants), JSA-plus-training group (3,810 participants), JSA plus-reemployment-bonus group (2,449 participants), or the control group (2,385 participants). Administrative UI data were collected from initial intake into the study (from July 1986 to June 1987) through mid-October 1993. Data on employment and earnings came from quarterly wage records through the second quarter of 1993.
To measure impacts on UI receipt, employment, and earnings, the authors compared the outcomes of members of each of the three treatment groups with those of the control group.
Public benefits receipt
- By the sixth year of follow-up, only the JSA-plus-reemployment-bonus group had statistically significant differences from the control group. Over all six years, this group received $333 less in UI benefits and 1.7 fewer weeks of UI benefits paid than did the control group.
- There were no statistically significant impacts on employment or weeks worked for any of the treatment groups over the six-year follow-up period.
Earnings and wages
- There were no statistically significant impacts on earnings for any of the treatment groups over the six-year follow-up period
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Only 15 percent of the JSA-plus-training group participated in training. In addition, the authors noted that not all sample members completed follow-up data. Finally, the labor market, UI program, and reemployment services have changed considerably since this study was conducted. Therefore, a similar study conducted in the current environment might find different results.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report 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 interventions studied, and not to other factors.