New Report Lays Out Ways to Fix State’s Dreadful Unemployment Insurance Woes for Pennsylvania’s Next Governor/Transition Team

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Press Conference: New Report Lays Out Ways to Fix State’s Dreadful Unemployment Insurance Woes for Pennsylvania’s Next Governor/Transition Team

State is second worst in nation in payment processing; Governor-elect Shapiro must revamp system to create a national model for assisting workers

Pittsburgh/Philadelphia, PA – At simultaneous press conferences outside the Governor’s regional offices in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia on Tuesday, November 29, 10AM EST, the Keystone Research Center will release a new report that details the ways in which the state’s unemployment system is failing workers and needs to be revamped by Governor-elect Shapiro. (for an embargoed report copy, email Kirstin Snow at snow@pennbpc.org)

During the pandemic, Pennsylvania’s unemployment system paid out more than $50 billion in benefits, but not without major problems and delays for many applicants. At times, the backlog of applications awaiting an initial determination of eligibility approached 300,000. Now, with unemployment claims back to pre-pandemic levels the problems persist. Last month, Pennsylvania made only 32% of first unemployment benefits payments within 15 days, ranking the Commonwealth 49th out of 50 states. Nearly half of unemployed workers wait more than 10 weeks before receiving their first payment. Pennsylvania also ranked 44th for the average age of first appeals – 244 days – about twice the national average of 127 days.

“Pennsylvania’s next governor must restore basic confidence in our unemployment insurance system and then modernize it so that more people promptly get the benefits they deserve and more effective assistance with finding their next good paying job,” said Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center and one of the authors of the report.

Pittsburgh Event: Rep. Sara Innamorato, Rep. Jessica Benham, Barney Oursler from the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, and representatives from several unions and other community leaders will join the Keystone Research Center for the release of the report on Tuesday.

  • What: Press conference releasing “An Unemployment Insurance Agenda for Pennsylvania’s Next Governor”, a new report from the Keystone Research Center.
  • Who: Stephen Herzenberg, Keystone Research Center; Rep. Sara Innamorato; Rep. Jessica Benham; Barney Oursler, Mon Valley Unemployed Committee; Darrin Kelly, Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • When: Tuesday, November 29 – 10:00 AM
  • Where: Piatt Place, 301 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Philadelphia Event: Rep. Joe Hohenstein, Rep. Rick Krajewski, and Philadelphia UP, representatives from several unions and other community leaders will join the Keystone Research Center for the release of the report on Tuesday.

  • What: Press conference releasing “An Unemployment Insurance Agenda for Pennsylvania’s Next Governor”, a new report from the Keystone Research Center.
  • Who: Rep. Joe Hohenstein, Rep. Rick Krajewski, Marc Stier, PA Budget & Policy Center and Keystone Research Center; John Dodds, Director of Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Sharon Dietrich, Litigation Director of Community Legal Services; and unemployed workers
  • When: Tuesday, November 29 – 10:00 AM
  • Where: 110 N. 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

This #GivingTuesday we are celebrating our accomplishments!

2022 has been a busy year for all of us!

We know you’ve been bombarded with tons of emails over the past week—many of them from retailers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But after all the shopping is done, we hope you’ll think of us on Giving Tuesday today.

Not familiar with #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

Why give to the Keystone Research Center and the PA Budget and Policy Center?

Your support made a big difference in educating thousands of Pennsylvanians this past year on many policy issues–in turn helping people choose leaders that align with their values. In 2022 we:

  • released over 50 reports and policy briefs–including our State of Working Pennsylvania and Governor’s Budget Analysis.
  • advanced the We The People-PA agenda to create an economy that works for all Pennsylvanians, no matter where they live or what they look like, and released an agenda endorsed by 18 newly elected members of the General Assembly.
  • held over 30 community conversations, press events, and candidate trainings.  
  • hosted our annual Budget Summit, which featured workshops, a legislative plenary, and keynote from Sen. Vincent Hughes.
  • earned over 1,000 mentions in the media.

We hope you will continue to support educating Pennsylvanians about policy that affects them and include KRC in your end-of-year giving.

Donate to Keystone Research Center and the PA Budget and Policy Center today.

Thank you!

– Stephen Herzenberg and Marc Stier for the Keystone Research Center and PA Budget and Policy Center Teams

P.S. Join us in person as we launch our 25th anniversary fundraising campaign on December 13th in Harrisburg–sponsorship and tickets available here: https://givebutter.com/KRC25Launch


DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


The 99% Pennsylvania is a campaign of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, focused on advancing federal policies that will benefit the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians. Ali Feldman is the federal organizing associate for the campaign.

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