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Unemployment Benefits by State 2020

Unemployment is defined as this who are jobless, have actively looked for a job within the last four weeks, and are available for work. Unemployment is measured by the unemployment rate as the number of people who are unemployed 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 June 2020, the unemployment rate is 11.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The natural rate of unemployment is between 3.5% and 4.5%.

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 those who are unemployed. 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.

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 $742. North Carolina and Florida offer unemployment benefits for the shortest length of time with a maximum of 12 weeks. Massachusetts offers unemployment benefits for 30 weeks.

Here are the 10 states with the highest unemployment benefits:

  1. Massachusetts ($742)
  2. Minnesota ($683)
  3. Washington ($681)
  4. New Jersey ($677)
  5. North Dakota ($633)
  6. Illinois ($613)
  7. Connecticut ($598)
  8. Oregon ($590)
  9. Ohio ($587)
  10. Pennsylvania ($573)

Unemployment Benefits by State 2020

Unemployment Benefits by State 2020

State Max. Weekly Benefit Max. Weeks 2020 Pop.
Massachusetts$742306,976,600
Minnesota$683265,700,670
Washington$681267,797,100
New Jersey$677268,936,570
North Dakota$63326761,723
Illinois$6132612,659,700
Connecticut$598263,563,080
Oregon$590264,301,090
Ohio$5872611,747,700
Pennsylvania$5732612,820,900
Colorado$568265,845,530
Rhode Island$566261,056,160
Hawaii$551261,412,690
Iowa$548263,179,850
Oklahoma$505263,954,820
Utah$496263,282,120
Texas$4932629,472,300
Montana$487261,086,760
Kansas$474162,910,360
Wyoming$47126567,025
Vermont$45826628,061
Arkansas$451203,039,000
California$4502639,937,500
New York$4302619,440,500
Maryland$430266,083,120
New Hampshire$427261,371,250
Nevada$427263,139,660
New Mexico$425262,096,640
West Virginia$424261,778,070
Kentucky$415264,499,690
Maine$410261,345,790
Idaho$410261,826,160
Nebraska$392261,952,570
Indiana$390266,745,350
Virginia$378268,626,210
Wisconsin$370265,851,750
Alaska$37026734,002
Michigan$3622010,045,000
North Carolina$3501210,611,900
South Dakota$34526903,027
Georgia$3301410,736,100
Delaware$33026982,895
South Carolina$326205,210,100
Missouri$320206,169,270
Tennessee$275266,897,580
Florida$2751221,993,000
Alabama$265264,908,620
Louisiana$247264,645,180
Arizona$240267,378,490
Mississippi$235262,989,260