Friday, October 31st, 2014

How many people have been saved from poverty by unemployment insurance?

Job seekers line up to talk to recruiters during a job fair held last year in Atlanta.
Job seekers line up to talk to recruiters during a job fair held last year in Atlanta.

President Barack Obama and his allies in Congress are trying to pass an extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed, but so far the effort is stalled. In an effort to promote the issue, Organizing for Action, the pro-Obama group the president has deputized to handle his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts, posted the following on Facebook:

"Unemployment insurance kept more than 620,000 children out of poverty in 2012. Tell Congress to renew job seekers' economic lifeline."

We wondered whether this claim, which was posted Jan. 7, 2014, was accurate.

We found that the number has some backing from an analysis of Census Bureau data published by the Democratic staff of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. However, this analysis used an unofficial poverty measure rather than the traditional one, and there’s reason to believe the actual number may be 427,000 rather than 620,000. So we rated the claim Half True.