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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

Which states have the highest and lowest payment for unemployment benefits in the country?

For workers that loss their job, they may be eligible to file for unemployment compensation, but the amount that they can collect each week varies widely.

Update:
For workers that loss their job, they may be eligible to file for unemployment compensation, but the amount that they can collect each week varies widely.
Mark BlinchREUTERS

Those who find themselves dismissed from their job through no fault of their own may be able to claim unemployment compensation. The amount of compensation that they can expect to receive varies widely from state to state.

Although the unemployment insurance system is a federal-state joint venture, beyond some basic federal mandates the states can run their programs with a fairly free hand. This means that there is no uniform set of rules to qualify, nor types of workers who are eligible to file a claim.

Also see:

Which states pay the most in unemployment

The amount that those who find that they are out of work and eligible to collect unemployment benefits varies greatly from state to state. According to Savings to Invest, a personal finance blog, the stingiest state is Mississippi paying out at most $235 per week, but at least the state pays up to 26 weeks of benefits. Arizona isn’t much better, residents who qualify can get 26 weeks of income aid for up to $240, but that will rise to $320 in July 2022. Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida all pay at most $275 per week, but Florida will only cover 12 weeks currently.

At the other end of the of the spectrum is Washington which boosts household incomes with $929 weekly payments over 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. In Massachusetts recipients may qualify for up to 30 weeks of benefits with individuals getting at most $823 each check while those with dependents could get as much as $1,234 per week.

Highest paying statesLowest paying states
Washington$929Mississippi$235
Massachusetts$823
(up to $1,234 w/dependents)
Arizona$240
(starting July 2022, $320)
Minnesota$740Alabama$275
New Jersey$713Florida$275
Connecticut$649
(up to $724 w/dependents)
Louisiana$275
Tennessee$275

Minnesota will help workers with up to $740 a week up to 26 weeks or until they find a job. Rounding out the highest benefits for 2022 are New Jesey and Connecticut, which pay their residents at most $713 and $649 per payment, respectively, over at most 26 weeks.

Economic recovery leading to tight labor market

The US economy has greatly improved since it seemed to go off a cliff in March 2020. Unemployment shrank to 3.6 percent in March, barely above the rate in February 2020 when it was 3.5 percent. The number of unemployed, those who actively looked for work in the last four weeks, in March was 6 million. According to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data prior to the covid-19 pandemic 5.7 million were actively looking for a job.

The last surge of covid-19 infections pushed by the Omicron variant had little effect on new hires. It did push the number of people who lost hours and wages though, spiking to 6 million in January. The latest BLS jobs report found that number down to 2.5 million in March.

There were improvements as well in the number of long-term unemployed falling to 1.4 million, over 300,000 more than before the pandemic. However, labor force participation rate was little changed in March holding at 62.4 percent, still below February 2020 when it was 63.4 percent.

Employers continue to compete for available workers in the tight labor market. The number of jobs openings has changed little in the past few months holding steady over 11 million. That translates to almost two jobs for ever person not currently working. New hires do continue to increase but not all jobs are desired by those potential employees.

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