US Unemployment Benefits 2022

Unemployment is defined as those who are jobless, have actively looked for a job within the last four weeks, and are available for work. The unemployment rate measures unemployment as the number of unemployed people as a percentage of a population’s labor force. Unemployment is a key economic indicator and can be a sign of economic turmoil.

The unemployment rate is 6.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The natural rate of unemployment is between 3.5% and 4.5%. Unemployment rates vary significantly by state.

If someone is not actively looking for work, they are not included in the unemployment rate. This means that individuals who retire, go back to school, or leave the workforce to raise. Family or take care of relatives is not counted in the unemployment rate.

Causes of Unemployment

Unemployment has seven main causes. These causes can be categorized into the following types of unemployment:

  • Cyclical unemployment
  • Structural unemployment
  • Frictional unemployment

Cyclical unemployment, which is also demand-deficient unemployment, means there are fewer jobs than there are applicants. This typically happens during a recession and results in large-scale unemployment. When consumer demand falls, companies lose profits and must lay off workers as a result. An example of this is the 2008 financial crisis.

Structural unemployment is long-term and involuntary. The two causes of structural unemployment are technological advances and outsourcing. Advancements made in technology can make some jobs obsolete when computers and robots can perform the job functions for a much lower cost than payroll. In job outsourcing, a company moves its call centers or manufacturing to another country where labor costs are significantly lower. India is a large outsourcing destination for many companies.

The last four causes of unemployment fall under frictional unemployment. The first of these is voluntarily leaving the workforce, such as when people quit unfulfilling jobs to find the one that’s right for them. Relocation is another type of frictional unemployment, where people are temporarily unemployed until they find a job in their new city. The third cause of frictional unemployment is when new workers enter the workforce, especially those graduating from high school or college. The time between graduating and finding the right position causes unemployment. The fourth cause of frictional unemployment and the seventh cause of unemployment overall is when people re-enter the workforce. This includes those who left to raise children or care for older relatives, or those who have recovered from illness.

Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment compensation, unemployment payment, or unemployment insurance, are payments made by a government body to unemployed people. In the United States, each state has its own unemployment insurance program, including ones in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.

The majority of U.S. states offer unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. Benefits range from $235 a week to $823.

Policies and benefits vary by state. Mississippi has the lowest maximum unemployment benefits in the U.S. of $235 per week, while Massachusetts has the highest at $823. North Carolina and Florida offer unemployment benefits for the shortest length of time with a maximum of 12 weeks. Montana offers unemployment benefits for the longest period of time of 28 weeks.

Unemployment Benefits by State

StateMax. Weekly BenefitMax. Weeks
Massachusetts$82326
Washington$79026
Minnesota$74026
New Jersey$71326
Connecticut$64926
Oregon$64826
Hawaii$64826
North Dakota$61826
Colorado$61826
Rhode Island$58626
Utah$58026
Pennsylvania$57226
Montana$55228
Kentucky$55226
Oklahoma$53926
Texas$53526
Vermont$51326
New Mexico$51126
Wyoming$50826
New York$50426
Kansas$48816
Illinois$48426
Nevada$48326
Iowa$48126
Ohio$48026
Arkansas$45120
California$45026
Idaho$44820
Maine$44526
Nebraska$44026
Maryland$43026
New Hampshire$42726
West Virginia$42426
South Dakota$41426
Delaware$40026
Indiana$39026
Virginia$37826
Wisconsin$37026
Alaska$37026
Georgia$36514
Michigan$36220
North Carolina$35012
South Carolina$32620
Missouri$32013
Tennessee$27526
Alabama$27526
Florida$27512
Louisiana$24726
Arizona$24026
Mississippi$23526

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