States About To Lose The Most Unemployment Insurance

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5. Florida
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 260,400
> Population: 19.3 million (4th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.4% (22nd lowest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 4.5% (12th highest)

Florida reformed its unemployment insurance program last year. But with changes such as a 45-question exam, several bodies complained, arguing such changes are obstacles designed to make it more difficult to get assistance. State residents receive just 19 weeks of state-provided unemployment insurance, tied for second fewest nationwide. At this time, 20 weeks of EUC benefits are available to Floridians, less than most other states in the nation. However, that figure will fall to zero should the program not be extended, leaving workers who have exhausted state benefits without any aid. As of the third quarter of 2013, 73% of Florida’s unemployed had exhausted these benefits, by far the most of any state.

4. Pennsylvania
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 262,500
> Population: 12.8 million (6th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.3% (17th highest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 4.3% (14th highest)

Pennsylvania is the only state in the U.S. where more than 200,000 workers lost unemployment benefits between 2010 and 2013. In 2010, virtually all jobless residents in the state received unemployment benefits. While over the last 12 months, that figure had fallen to 58%, it is still among the highest in the nation. In 2013, there were nearly 1.3 million initial claims for unemployment insurance, less than in any state except for California and New York. The number of unemployed workers getting benefits will likely drop even further if federal emergency benefits are not renewed. More than 262,000 Pennsylvanians are expected to lose access to EUC benefits at some point in 2014 if the program is discontinued.

Also Read: Ten Cities Where Poverty Is Soaring

3. Texas
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 285,200
> Population: 26.1 million (2nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.1% (15th lowest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 2.9% (16th lowest)

In part because of its sheer size, Texas is slated to have more workers lose federal unemployment benefits in 2014 than any state except for California and New York. However, even in Texas, where the unemployment rate is a relatively low 6.2% and alternative measures such as underemployment are also similarly low, many out-of-work residents have lost benefits. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of unemployed Texans fell by 19%, yet the number of unemployment benefit recipients fell by almost half. Going forward, the elimination of the EUC program would cut the total number of benefit weeks potentially available to the unemployed from 54 to just 26, affecting an estimated 285,200 people in 2014.

2. New York
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 383,000
> Population: 19.6 million (3rd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.4% (14th highest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 4.7% (10th highest)

New York’s job market has been weak in recent years. The number of unemployed workers declined by just 8% between 2010 and 2013, versus a more than 20% decline nationally. In all, New Yorkers are eligible for a total of 63 weeks of unemployment benefits from the state and federal government. That number will fall to just 26 weeks if the EUC program is not renewed, affecting an estimated 383,000 workers in 2014. New York has already announced comprehensive changes to its own program, including planned increases in minimum and maximum payments for the first time since 1999. According to the most recent 12 month data from the Department of Labor, the average weekly benefit in New York was just 25.5% of the average weekly wage — lower than in all but three states.

Also Read: The Best and Worst Run States in America

1. California
> Unemployed losing access to benefits: 836,100
> Population: 38.0 million (the highest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.5% (5th highest)
> Pct. unemployed 15+ weeks: 5.2% (tied-4th highest)

California, by far the nation’s largest state by population, had an average of more than 1.7 million unemployed workers per month in 2013. As of the third quarter of this year, more than half of the state’s jobless workers had already exhausted their state benefits. With 5.2% of the workforce out of a job for at least 15 weeks, one of the highest in the country, many people in the Golden State likely rely on the 37 available weeks of EUC benefits. However, with the program slated to end, an estimated 836,100 unemployed workers will lose access to EUC benefits in 2014, more than double the number in any other state. California has already informed more than 200,000 long-term out-of-work residents that their benefits will expire by the end of the year.

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