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State unemployment fund grows to $205M after pandemic crash

Tracy O Money!

Hawaiʻi’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund has grown again after rapidly depleting as a result of the pandemic.

The state UCTF grew to $205 million after using over $800 million in federal pandemic funding.

The state quickly expended the original $600 million due to increased unemployment insurance claims during the COVID shutdown. The funds were gone within three months.

The program is typically funded exclusively by employers via state and federal payroll taxes. The UCTF rarely depleted pre-pandemic due to this design.

The system is designed to replenish the fund during times of economic growth to support the economy during a recession.

Hawaiʻi finds itself in a good financial position. Other states owe the U.S. Treasury billions of dollars for unemployment insurance loans. California owes $18 billion and New York is at $8 billion in debt.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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