There are a few states that are not very nice to their unemployed. Reasons including high unemployment rates, wealth disparities, and low unemployment benefits are among the factors cited for warranting these states their dismal distinction. But what are the eight best states for the unemployed? Using the same three criteria — income replacement, or average unemployment benefits (as of 4Q 2012) as a percentage of average state income per capita; unemployment rate (as of March 2013); and wealth disparity, the ratio of households with incomes of at least $200,000 to those with incomes of less than $10,000 (as of 2011 Census ACS) — each state’s rank was averaged. See if you recognize any geographic pattern among these eight best states.
We begin with Iowa, a state that boasts an unemployment rate of only 4.9 percent, a full 2.6 percentage points below the national average of 7.5 percent. And that’s not America’s Heartland’s only redeeming quality. The state’s $328 average in weekly unemployment benefits far surpasses those of the two states that flank it on the list — Montana at $275 and Oklahoma at $281. Iowa’s unemployment benefits as a percentage of income also subsequently post a high number of 40.5 percent.