States About To Lose The Most Unemployment Insurance

Print Email

10. Massachusetts
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 141,000
> Population: 6.6 million (14th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.1% (20th highest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 3.8% (22nd highest)

An estimated 141,000 Massachusetts workers will lose access to EUC benefits if the federal program is not renewed for 2014. Already, a large number of the state’s unemployed have lost benefits. In 2010, 88% of jobless workers received unemployment benefits, trailing only two other states. However, in 2013 only 56% received such benefits. Although the number of non-farm jobs grew by 1.7% between November 2012 and November 2013, the unemployment rate rose this year. One possible explanation, suggested by Governor Deval Patrick, is that more people in the state are now looking for work.

9. Georgia
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 164,700
> Population: 9.9 million (8th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.7% (11th highest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 5.0% (7th highest)

As of July, Georgia residents can only receive a maximum of 18 weeks of state-funded unemployment insurance, less than any other state. The state decided to cut the aid from 26 weeks in 2012 in part because it had borrowed heavily to cover unemployment insurance claims during the recession. And while federal programs may have helped residents to receive benefits for longer than 18 weeks, the percentage of unemployed Georgians with benefits dropped by nearly half, from 83% in 2010 to 42% in 2013. Georgia’s unemployment and underemployment rates were among the worst in the nation, while nearly 49% of jobless workers had exhausted their state-provided unemployment insurance benefits.

Also Read: The Worst Product Flops of 2013

8. Michigan
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 189,700
> Population: 9.9 million (9th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.8% (3rd highest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 4.8% (9th highest)

The average number of unemployed people per month in Michigan not receiving state or federal benefits rose by 62,000 between 2010 and 2013. While the number of unemployed workers in the state dropped by 31% in that time, more than in all but two other states, the number of benefit recipients dropped by 60%. Michigan’s unemployment rate remains high — at 8.8%, it was one of the nation’s highest rates in November. While in most states, workers are eligible for 26 weeks of state-sponsored unemployment insurance, in Michigan eligibility lasts just 20 weeks. Going forward, tens of thousands of unemployed workers will immediately lose benefits if the EUC program shuts down, and 190,000 people are projected to lose access next year.

7. Illinois
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 230,500
> Population: 12.9 million (5th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.7% (4th highest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 5.2% (tied-4th highest)

Two-thirds of unemployed workers in Illinois, or an average of just over 460,000 people per month, received either state or federal unemployment insurance benefits in 2010. But in 2013, that figure dropped to just under 242,000. The state’s unemployment rate remains high as well, at 8.7% as of November. As a result, while the number of unemployed workers has fallen by 13% between 2010 and 2013, the average number of benefit recipients per month was nearly cut in half. Because of its high unemployment rate, Illinois is still one of three states where workers can qualify for 47 weeks of EUC benefits, a number that will fall to zero if the program is not renewed, affecting over 230,000 people in 2014.

6. New Jersey
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 260,100
> Population: 8.9 million (11th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.8% (9th highest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 5.5% (2nd highest)

In 2010, almost all unemployed workers in New Jersey received unemployment benefits. But in 2013, that figure dropped to just 62%. Although benefits under the state’s unemployment insurance program are relatively high, paying an average of nearly $396 per week, more than 46% of unemployed residents have exhausted state benefits. Many of these workers are dependent on benefits from the federal EUC program instead. Cuts to this program are projected to hurt residents deeply in a state where the monthly average number of unemployed people receiving benefits has already declined by 146,000, and where 5.5% of the workforce has been unemployed 15 weeks or longer, more than in all but one other state.