State Raising Unemployment Insurance Premiums

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Montana businesses will be paying higher unemployment insurance premiums next year because of the increased amounts of benefits paid out due to the economic recession.

Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly says the contribution rates in 2010 will average 1.92 percent of wages paid, up from 1.12 percent in 2009. Employers will receive notice of their 2010 rates in mid-December.

For the past 10 years, Montana’s rates were at the lowest of 11 rate schedules set by law due to a healthy trust fund balance and low levels of unemployment. The Labor Department says the rates are being increased to restore the Unemployment Trust Fund, which has fallen from $290 million in October 2008 to $191 million now.

The Labor Department says Montana’s unemployment insurance trust fund is one of the most solvent in the nation. Twenty-five states have had to borrow from the federal trust fund to pay benefits and the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that up to 41 states could be borrowing by the end of 2010. Montana is not projected to have to borrow money.

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