10. North Carolina
> Number to lose benefits: 77,100
> Population: 9,656,401 (10th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 9.3% (5th highest)
While North Carolina’s unemployment rate declined significantly from 10.6% in October 2011 to 9.3% last month, it remained considerably higher than the national rate of 7.9%. More than 77,000 people in the state could lose their unemployment benefits by the end of 2012. And that is on top of the 22,500 who were cut off from the Extended Benefit program back in May. The end of Extended Benefit means that unemployed North Carolinians are only eligible for 73 weeks of benefits as of May, compared to 99 weeks previously.
> Number to lose benefits: 88,800
> Population: 12,869,259 (5th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.8% (9th highest)
Illinois was just one of four states in 2011 where at least 50% of the unemployed population has been out of work for at least six months, according to a study released by the Brookings Institute in January. Although the state’s unemployment situation has improved this year, the October unemployment rate was almost one percentage point higher than the national rate. But the long-term unemployed in Illinois — along with several other states — were cut off from the Extended Benefit Program in May due to better employment prospects, reducing unemployment benefits for these workers by 20 weeks.
> Number to lose benefits: 92,900
> Population: 9,876,187 (8th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 9.1% (6th highest)
Michigan has come along way from its low during the height of the recession when it was hit by both the housing downturn and the near-collapse of the automobile industry. In the summer of 2009, unemployment in the state topped 15%. Although that number has gone down substantially since, Michigan is still just one of a handful of states with an unemployment above 9%. In March, Gov. Rick Snyder launched an initiative known as Community Ventures, a public-private venture connecting the unemployed with employers in Michigan communities.
> Number to lose benefits: 110,400
> Population: 25,674,681 (2nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.6% (16th lowest)
Although 110,400 unemployed Texans are slated to lose benefits by the end of the year, this number is not high considering that Texas is the second most-populous state. And while the state’s unemployment rate was low compared to the country’s rate, that doesn’t mean Texans have good jobs. In 2011, 8% of all hourly paid workers in the state made the federal minimum wage or less — higher than the 5.2% of workers nationwide. Also, more than a quarter of Texas residents didn’t have health insurance, according to an August study by Gallup. This was the highest rate in the country.
> Number to lose benefits: 113,900
> Population: 19,057,542 (4th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.5% (14th highest)
Fortunately, Florida’s labor market has improved tremendously over the past year. The state’s unemployment rate was 10.2% in October 2011, the sixth-highest of all states, as Florida was reeling from the effects of the housing downturn. Although the rate has dropped to a much lower 8.5% in October, it was still significantly higher than the 7.9% unemployment for the country. Those unemployed in Florida tend to be unemployed for a long time too. According to a Brookings Institute study, 53.4% of the unemployed in 2011 were out of work for a minimum of six months, the highest-rate of all states.