Missouri, Alaska and North Carolina are the worst places to be out of work.
You’re out of luck if you’re out of work in these places.
While the national unemployment rate fell to a 17-year-low at just 3.8% in May, those who are still trying to re-enter the workforce will have the toughest time in Missouri, Alaska and North Carolina, according to a new GOBankingRates.com report listing the best and worst states for unemployed job seekers.
The personal finance site analyzed three key employment components in all 50 states, including the employment growth rate and the unemployment rate (pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics), as well as the number of weeks that residents can collect unemployment insurance to make ends meet while looking for work. And the five worst states, while geographically distant from each other, all shared brief windows when workers can receive unemployment that are well below the 26-week national average.
Missouri landed the very worst spot on the list due to the double-whammy of offering half the time (13 weeks) to collect unemployment insurance that most states get, along with suffering the eighth-lowest employment growth (-0.38 percent) in the nation. On the plus side, residents can own a home for less than $1,000 a month, a separate GOBankingRates study of Zillow data found, since the median home price is a relatively low $170,000.
Alaska has the highest unemployment rate (7.3%) in the country — almost double the national unemployment rate — and an employment growth of just -0.02%, which makes it the second-worst state. But if and when you do land a new gig, it’s one of the seven states with no income tax, so you can keep more of your paycheck.
And North Carolina suffers from having just 12 weeks of maximum allowable unemployment insurance, landing it as the third-worst state. That’s tied with Florida (the fifth worst) for having the lowest unemployment insurance period in the country. Plus, GOBankingRates previously named it one of the worst states for first-time homebuyers due to its high median home price ($259,000.) Kansas rounded out the bottom five.
“Three of the five states that ranked the worst in this study (Missouri, Alaska, and Kansas) have all experienced a decrease in employment growth over the last year,” a GOBankingRates.com representative told Moneyish. “State regulations that would provide more weeks of unemployment insurance would help these states rank higher, but because the job market isn’t as strong in these states as it is out west, the improvement process would take a longer time unless an influx of job openings began occurring.”
On the other end, three western states (Colorado, Utah and Idaho) made the top five list of best states to be unemployed for a winning combination of strong employment growth, low unemployment rates and generous unemployment insurance periods. Colorado took the No. 1 spot for boasting the highest employment growth rate (3.14%) in the country, as well as the fifth-lowest unemployment rate (2.9%).
Utah is a strong second best for having the fifth-highest employment growth rate in the country (2.21%) and the sixth-lowest unemployment rate (3.1%.) In fact, capital Salt Lake City was recently named the best city for 2018 college grads to launch a career by WalletHub, thanks to scoring highly for professional opportunities and quality of life. And three cities (Provo, Orem and Saint George) were named among the 10 best places for working parents in a recent SmartAsset report for being safe, affordable and boasting shorter commutes and higher graduation rates.
Massachusetts is the third best state to be looking for work, since job hunters enjoy 30 weeks of unemployment insurance; longer than any other state. It was also recently named the second-best state to raise a family in the 2018 Kids Count report published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation for featuring affordable housing and good schools. Idaho and Tennessee round out the top five.
“Several Western states have seen significant civilian labor force growth between April 2017 and April 2018, and this is due to several startups moving out west along with a strong job market hiring at record rates,” explained the GOBankingRates.com rep. “This combined with labor force unemployment rates being among the lowest in the U.S. results in western states ranking so well.”
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