Special Report

The Best and Worst States to Be Unemployed

31. Georgia
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
32.0% (tied–18th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 30.0% (13th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.2% (6th highest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 3.0% (6th highest)

Despite a few, very positive statistics, Georgia is not an ideal state to be unemployed in. At an average of 11 weeks, unemployed Georgians spent less time on unemployment insurance than residents of any other state in the country. Also, Georgia had a very strong job growth rate of 3.0%, the sixth highest nationwide. However, the state had a high unemployment rate of 7.2%, the sixth highest nationwide. Unemployment insurance claimants received one of the lowest benefit payments of just $268 per week compared to the national average of $319.

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32. New Hampshire
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
25.0% (7th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 30.6% (14th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 4.3% (tied–7th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.3% (22nd lowest)

While New Hampshire’s unemployment rate was seventh lowest in the country, the reality for those who were unemployed was relatively harsh. Only 25% of New Hampshire’s unemployed residents qualified for insurance benefits, the seventh lowest proportion in the country. While a relatively small percentage of unemployed state residents received insurance, many who did were able to find a job before the benefits ran out. Just over 26% of New Hampshire residents exhausted their unemployment benefits. Only South Dakota and Vermont had a lower exhaustion rate.

33. New Mexico
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
34.0% (tied–24th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 39.8% (9th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.5% (tied–15th highest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 0.6% (6th lowest)

At 0.6%, Mexico’s job growth rate was the sixth lowest in the country and 1.3 percentage points lower than the national rate. The maximum amount of time an individual can receive unemployment insurance benefits in the state was 26 weeks. However, this time was insufficient for the 48% of unemployed state residents who exhausted their benefits before finding a job. Many New Mexico residents struggling to find work were likely also living in poverty. The state’s poverty rate of nearly 22% was second highest in the country after only Mississippi.

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34. Ohio
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
29.0% (tied–13th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 37.7% (18th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.7% (tied–19th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.3% (20th lowest)

On the spectrum of the 50 states’ unemployment rates, Ohio falls close to the middle. Though the state’s unemployment rate of 5.7% had fallen considerably over the past five years, it was still much higher than its all-time low of just 3.8% in April of 2001. Of the state’s unemployed residents, only 29% collected insurance benefits, one of the lower rates in the country. Though this proportion was relatively low, the average weekly dollar amount brought home by a claimant was $331, slightly higher than the national average. This was also equal to nearly 38% of the weekly wage for employed residents, one of the higher proportions nationwide.

35. North Carolina
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits:
29.0% (tied–13th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 32.9% (tied–19th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.1% (tied–23rd highest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 2.3% (14th highest)

Unemployment insurance claimants in North Carolina received $229.27 per week, one of the lowest weekly benefit amounts nationwide and equal to less than 33% of the state’s average weekly wage. Nearly 47% of insurance recipients exhausted their benefits, and unemployed state residents spent nearly 18 weeks receiving benefits before finding a job, each the 10th highest such figures in the country.

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