The Best and Worst States to Be Unemployed

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1. North Dakota
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
40.0% (tied -16th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 45.1% (2nd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 2.8% (the lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 3.9% (the highest)

Of all 50 states, North Dakota has the most advantages and opportunities for its unemployed residents. North Dakota was home to both the lowest unemployment rate and the highest job growth rate in the country, at 2.8% and 3.9%, respectively. Due in part to the booming job market, a typical unemployed resident spent an average of 12.5 weeks looking for work, less time than in any other state except for Georgia and Idaho. Not only did unemployed residents spend less time finding employment, but those receiving unemployment insurance took home an average of $420.66 per week, the third highest benefit amount of all 50 states.

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2. Hawaii
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
44.0% (tied– 11th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 52.0% (the highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.4% (tied– 9th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.0% (14th lowest)

Unemployed workers receiving insurance benefits in Hawaii received an average of $429.24 per week. Not only was the benefit amount the second highest in the country, it also covered 52% of the average working Hawaiian’s weekly wage, the highest coverage rate of all 50 states, and the only state in which more than half of the average wage was covered. Still, the average amount of time a Hawaiian resident spent looking for a job was 16.7 weeks, the same as the corresponding national figure. The state also had relatively slow job growth, at a rate of 1%.

3. Utah
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
28.0% (tied– 9th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 43.9% (3rd highest)
> Unemployment rate: 3.8% (4th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 2.8% (8th highest)

A high job growth rate coupled with a low unemployment rate make Utah one of the best states for eligible workers looking for a job. It took 13.4 weeks for unemployed Utah residents to find a job, 3.3 weeks less than the national average. While only 28% of Utah’s unemployed received insurance benefits, those who did received $352.41 per week, the 12th highest dollar amount in the country. Also, the benefit covered 43.9% of the average weekly wages, the third highest such coverage.

4. Minnesota
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
44.0% (tied– 11th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 39.7% (10th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.1% (tied– 5th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.5% (22nd highest)

Of the total unemployed Minnesota residents, 44% were eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits, the 11th highest recipiency rate. The average weekly unemployment benefit amount was $386.77, more than the amount in all but a handful of states. Minnesota’s unemployment rate has been dropping every year since 2009 when it was 7.8%. In 2014 it reached 4.1%. And the estimated rate for April of this year was even lower, at 3.7%.

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5. Iowa
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
40.0% (16th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 43.6% (4th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.4% (tied– 9th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.3% (23rd lowest)

At 4.4%, Iowa’s unemployment rate was 1.8 percentage points lower than the national rate. Similarly, underemployment was 8.4% in the state, more than 3.2 percentage points lower than the national rate. In addition, unemployed Iowa residents found jobs relatively quickly. It took unemployment insurance just 13.4 weeks to find a job in the state, the seventh lowest duration compared to other states.