The US Department of Labor publishes numbers that detail how the annualized rate of exhausting unemployment insurance benefits changes over time.
The current rate is almost 50% of UI recipients are slated to have their benefits expire in the coming year. This is the highest rate since around 1940---And as you can see in the chart below---by far the highest rate seen in the last 25 years.
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So what's the significance of this? On a social stand-point that means more and more people will be losing the government safety net this year and may be forced to look for other government assistance (food-stamps, welfare)---and it also means that in the coming months when economic reporters start telling us about how the "Continuing Claims" for UI benefits is declining, we'll have to be asking, "sure, but how many people have exhausted all their benefits rather than actually finding work?"