The Best States to Be Unemployed

5. Minnesota
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 47% (tied for 14th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 39.3% (13th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.2% (9th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.7% (14th highest)

Job growth in Minnesota was in line with the rest of the nation. Similarly, the percentage of unemployed residents receiving unemployment benefits was only slightly above the national benchmarks. The state’s low unemployment rate of 5.2% helped make Minnesota a top five state for unemployed workers seeking a job. Also, Minnesota’s ability to support its unemployed residents is likely to be less affected by the sequester than other states. While the average national cut in unemployment benefits is expected to drop by $43 per person, it is only expected to drop by $37 a person in Minnesota.

Also Read: The Largest Municipal Bankruptcies in History

4. Iowa
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 45% (tied for 19th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 43.2% (4th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.6% (5th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.6% (21st highest)

Iowa had one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates — at just 4.6%, it is three percentage points lower than the national rate of 7.6%. The unemployment insurance benefit was equal to 43.2% of the average weekly wage — tied for fourth highest in the nation. But according to The Des Moines Register, job growth in Iowa is expected to fall short of goals set by Governor Terry Branstad, who aimed to add 200,000 jobs over five years ending in 2016.

3. North Dakota
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 36% (14th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 43.9% (2nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.1% (the lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 2.6% (4th highest)

The average weekly benefit for unemployed workers in North Dakota was more than $376 as of the first quarter of 2013, higher than all but five other states. However, just 800 people received unemployment insurance, the second fewest of all states. North Dakota and its residents are benefiting from an oil boom, which is bringing many jobs to the area. The number of nonfarm workers grew 2.6% between June 2012 and June 2013, higher than all but four other states. This comes on top of a 9.8% growth in the previous 12 months, which was by far the biggest growth of all states that year. The unemployment rate as of June 2013 was a mere 3.1%, lower than any other state.

2. Hawaii
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 51% (10th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 53.0% (the highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.6% (5th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.3% (tied for 24th highest)

The average benefit in Hawaii was more than $422 per week, comprising 53% of the average weekly wages — both the highest in the country. Of those who were unemployed, 51% received benefits, higher than all but nine other states. Hawaii had only a 4.6% unemployment rate as of June 2013, lower than all but four other states. There were 6.1% more tourists in the state in the first four months of 2013, compared to the same time in 2012, with a related increase of 6.3% in total spending during that time. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, this translated into 3,000 more local jobs.

1. Montana
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 55% (8th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 40.3% (9th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.4% (12th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 2.0% (tied for 7th highest)

Being unemployed in Montana does not look the same as it does for most of the country. On average, unemployment benefits covered more than 40% of the state’s average weekly wages in the 12 months ending with the first quarter of 2013, the ninth highest of all states. In addition to unemployment rate being among the lowest in the country, nonfarm employment grew by 2%, higher than all but a handful of states. Employment growth was most noticeable in the information field and in and professional and business services, where the number of jobs grew by 7.4% and 7.1%, respectively. Montana was also in the top 10 of all states in terms of employment growth in the previous 12 months.

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