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Unemployment Benefits By State 2021

Unemployment is defined as those who are jobless, have actively looked for a job within the last four weeks, and are available for work. The unemployment rate measures unemployment as the number of unemployed people as a percentage of a population’s labor force. Unemployment is a key economic indicator and can be a sign of economic turmoil.

As of January 2020, the unemployment rate is 6.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The natural rate of unemployment is between 3.5% and 4.5%. Unemployment rates vary significantly by state.

If someone is not actively looking for work, they are not included in the unemployment rate. This means that individuals who retire, go back to school, or leave the workforce to raise. Family or take care of relatives is not counted in the unemployment rate.

Causes of Unemployment

Unemployment has seven main causes. These causes can be categorized into the following types of unemployment:

  • Cyclical unemployment
  • Structural unemployment
  • Frictional unemployment

Cyclical unemployment, which is also demand-deficient unemployment, means there are fewer jobs than there are applicants. This typically happens during a recession and results in large-scale unemployment. When consumer demand falls, companies lose profits and must lay off workers as a result. An example of this is the 2008 financial crisis.

Structural unemployment is long-term and involuntary. The two causes of structural unemployment are technological advances and outsourcing. Advancements made in technology can make some jobs obsolete when computers and robots can perform the job functions for a much lower cost than payroll. In job outsourcing, a company moves its call centers or manufacturing to another country where labor costs are significantly lower. India is a large outsourcing destination for many companies.

The last four causes of unemployment fall under frictional unemployment. The first of these is voluntarily leaving the workforce, such as when people quit unfulfilling jobs to find the one that’s right for them. Relocation is another type of frictional unemployment, where people are temporarily unemployed until they find a job in their new city. The third cause of frictional unemployment is when new workers enter the workforce, especially those graduating from high school or college. The time between graduating and finding the right position causes unemployment. The fourth cause of frictional unemployment and the seventh cause of unemployment overall is when people re-enter the workforce. This includes those who left to raise children or care for older relatives, or those who have recovered from illness.

Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment compensation, unemployment payment, or unemployment insurance, are payments made by a government body to unemployed people. In the United States, each state has its own unemployment insurance program, including ones in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.

The majority of U.S. states offer unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. Benefits range from $235 a week to $823.

Policies and benefits vary by state. Mississippi has the lowest maximum unemployment benefits in the U.S. of $235 per week, while Massachusetts has the highest at $823. North Carolina and Florida offer unemployment benefits for the shortest length of time with a maximum of 12 weeks. Montana offers unemployment benefits for the longest period of time of 28 weeks.

Here are the 10 states with the highest unemployment benefits:

  1. Virginia ($37,888)
  2. Massachusetts ($823)
  3. Washington ($790)
  4. Minnesota ($740)
  5. New Jersey ($713)
  6. Connecticut ($649)
  7. Hawaii ($648)
  8. Oregon ($648)
  9. Colorado ($618)
  10. North Dakota ($618)

Unemployment Benefits By State 2021

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Unemployment Benefits By State 2021

State Max. Weekly Benefit Max. Weeks 2021 Pop.
Virginia$37,888268,603,985
Massachusetts$823266,912,239
Washington$790267,796,941
Minnesota$740265,706,398
New Jersey$713268,874,520
Connecticut$649263,552,821
Oregon$648264,289,439
Hawaii$648261,406,430
North Dakota$61826770,026
Colorado$618265,893,634
Rhode Island$586261,061,509
Utah$580263,310,774
Pennsylvania$5722612,804,123
Montana$552281,085,004
Kentucky$552264,480,713
Oklahoma$539263,990,443
Texas$5352629,730,311
Vermont$51326623,251
New Mexico$511262,105,005
Wyoming$50826581,075
New York$5042619,299,981
Kansas$488162,917,224
Illinois$4842612,569,321
Nevada$483263,185,786
Iowa$481263,167,974
Ohio$4802611,714,618
Arkansas$451203,033,946
California$4502639,613,493
Idaho$448201,860,123
Maine$445261,354,522
Nebraska$440261,951,996
Maryland$430266,065,436
New Hampshire$427261,372,203
West Virginia$424261,767,859
South Dakota$41426896,581
Delaware$40026990,334
Indiana$390266,805,663
Wisconsin$370265,852,490
Alaska$37026724,357
Georgia$3651410,830,007
Michigan$362209,992,427
North Carolina$3501210,701,022
South Carolina$326205,277,830
Missouri$320136,169,038
Tennessee$275266,944,260
Alabama$275264,934,193
Florida$2751221,944,577
Louisiana$247264,627,002
Arizona$240267,520,103
Mississippi$235262,966,407

Unemployment Benefits By State 2021