Unemployment BenefitsHARTFORD: Tight labor market or not Connecticut is raising its maximum weekly unemployment benefit by $18. This is the highest amount allowed under law, the increase will take the current maximum of $613 to $631, effective Oct. 7.

According to CBIA’s vice president for government affairs Eric Gjede, “the decision by the state Department of Labor is designed to bring the benefit in line with wage increases.”

Claims filed prior to October 1 will not be impacted by the increase.

CBIA said it is concerned that the “change also means the state's Unemployment Trust Fund may be depleted faster than it would under current limits.”

CBIA has raised issues about the solvency of the fund that supports the benefits, seeking legislation for several years, the effort has failed most recently in the past two legislative sessions.

Gjede added, “the business community is concerned about the health of the unemployment trust fund, which is an important safety net," he said.

During the 2008-2010 recession, Connecticut employers saw their annual federal unemployment taxes jump to a massive $189 average per employee.

CBIA says, that was directly attributable to the poor health of Connecticut's fund, requiring the state to borrow heavily from the federal government in order to maintain the fund's solvency.”

The state borrowed the money to make the payments but businesses paid it back through higher unemployment assessments.