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Employers to pay less unemployment taxes in 2018

The state’s Unemployment Trust Fund’s balance is expected to trigger a statutory switch this week that will cause some employers to pay less unemployment taxes in 2018.

The fund pays out benefits to workers who lose their jobs because of layoffs or other circumstances beyond their control. The money comes from payroll taxes paid by employers.

The trust fund’s balance was at $1.33 billion on June 27, reported Janell Knutson, chairwoman for the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, which met Wednesday.

Knutson said the balance is not expected to change between now and Friday. That means the fund will be at a point that trips a statutory switch causing most employers to move to lower tax brackets. The total savings is expected to come to about $30 million.

This is the third time the fund’s balance has tripped a statutory switch that moves most employers into lower tax brackets. The previous time came last June and was expected to save employers about $38 million in the state’s 2017 fiscal year.

A similar shift in 2015 saved employers an estimated $97 million in unemployment taxes.

The fund, which ended 2016 with a balance of $1.2 billion, has seen quite a turnaround in recent years. In 2011, when the state was still recovering from the “great recession,” it was about $1.7 billion in the red.

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