[Vision2020] Unemployment, 2016, especially in Idaho
kmmos1 at frontier.com
Tue Jun 7 08:06:42 PDT 2016
Unemployment, 2016, especially in Idaho
Unemployment in the United States has steadily improved over the past
six and a half years. The unemployment rate today is half its
mid-recession peak, and non-farm payroll employment has increased for
more than 60 straight months.
Despite the lower unemployment rate, millions of Americans still
continue to search for work without luck. To support themselves and
their families, many apply for unemployment insurance while they remain
out of work.
Unemployment is far from an ideal situation, but the prospects for
out-of-work residents depend a great deal on where they live. In North
Dakota, which has a very healthy job market, nearly 75% of the jobless
workforce receives benefits — at an average of $520.64 weekly. In
Louisiana, where work is generally harder to come by, just 13.5% of the
unemployed population receives benefits — at an average of $217.64 weekly.
Based on employment growth, unemployment rates, the proportion of
jobless residents receiving UI benefits, and the average weekly UI
payment, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the best and worst states to be unemployed.
In no state does the entire unemployed population receive unemployment
insurance. A state’s recipiency rate, or share of the unemployed
population receiving UI benefits, depends on a number of factors and
varies greatly from state to state. In Florida, the recipiency rate is
just 10.2%, while in North Dakota it is 74.0%, the highest share.
Recipiency depends on a number of factors, such as the state’s UI
eligibility requirements, state and federal funding, and the public’s
awareness about UI programs. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Claire
McKenna, senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project,
explained that more restrictive UI programs tend to have fewer
unemployed residents who receive benefits. “In states that have reduced
benefit amounts and duration and that have restricted eligibility, we
have seen reductions in recipiency,” she said.
States determine the amount a worker receives in benefits based on a
proportion of the wages earned at his or her last job. The higher the
lost wages, the higher the stipend. However, states also set a maximum
amount for how much can be doled out on a weekly basis, ranging from
$679 in Massachusetts to just $221 in Louisiana, the highest and lowest
benefit amounts respectively. The maximum set in each state appears to
also have a direct impact on the average benefit amount. All 10 of
states with the lowest average weekly payments also have among the
lowest maximum weekly benefits set.
For those who are unemployed, just as important as the benefits are the
chances of finding a job before benefits run out. While not a perfect
measure, the unemployment rate can be a rough indication of these
chances. In states with higher unemployment rates, job seekers will
likely have a harder time finding work. The same is true in states where
employment is declining meaningfully. On the other hand, in states with
low unemployment and healthy job growth, the prospects are likely better
for the unemployed.
Many of the worst states to be unemployed in today made drastic cuts to
their UI schemes in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Since 2011, a
number states have cut the maximum durations people can receive
unemployment benefits. North Carolina, for example, reduced the maximum
number of weeks a recipient could stay on UI from 26 to just 13 weeks.
“A number of states favored benefit reductions and eligibility
restrictions at the expense of sensible financing reforms,” McKenna
said. As a result, in every state that cut benefits availability by more
than one week the recipiency rate declined significantly.
>Pct. unemployed getting benefits:* 25.3% (21st lowest)
*> Pct. average weekly wage covered:* 41.5% (10th highest)
*> Unemployment rate:* 3.7% (10th lowest)
*> 1-yr. job growth:* 3.8% (the highest)
No state had greater job growth than Idaho over the past 12 months.
Employment grew by 3.8%, twice the 1.9% national job growth rate. At the
same time, the state’s unemployment rate dropped 0.5 percentage points
to 3.7%, one of the lowest in the country.
The average UI payment in Idaho accounts for 41.5% of the state’s
average weekly wage, more substantial substitution than the the national
33.9% replacement rate. Idaho’s UI program services just 25.3% of the
state’s unemployed, however, somewhat modest coverage compared to the
national 27.3% recipiency rate.
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