These Are the Best States to Be Unemployed in 2018, Study Finds

Surviving a job loss is easier in some states than others.

The depths of the Great Recession — when unemployment reached 10 percent and the housing market lay in ruin — are in the past. That said, another recession seems due, with several sources predicting 2020 as the likely year. With a storm gathering on the horizon, now is not the best time to be unemployed. But then again, even if you’re employed now, the future downturn could wreck it all.

GOBankingRates conducted a study to determine which states are the best — and the worst — to be unemployed. The analysis was based primarily on these factors: employment growth of the civilian labor force from April 2017 to April 2018; the percentage of the civilian labor force that is unemployed; and the maximum amount of weeks of unemployment insurance available by state. April’s employment statistics were the most up-to-date available at the time the research was conducted.

Click to read about the states you’ll want to live in if you’re unemployed by the next recession.

Top 10 Best States to be Unemployed

On average, the top 10 best states saw employment grow by about 1.66 percent year-over-year. Colorado experienced the most growth, 3.14 percent, and tied for the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent.

But Colorado didn’t stand out for its 26 weeks of maximum unemployment insurance — 39 states have the same number. But Massachusetts did, as it offers a maximum of 30 weeks of unemployment insurance. That makes it the state with the longest unemployment insurance and good enough to finish No. 3 in the study.

Here are the 10 best states if you’re unemployed and want a job:

  1. Colorado
  2. Utah
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Idaho
  5. Tennessee
  6. Minnesota
  7. Vermont
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Texas
  10. New Hampshire

Top 10 Worst States to be Unemployed

The worst states have a median employment growth rate of -0.02 percent, meaning employment declined in these states. The U.S. overall is putting up solid employment numbers, but living in a state with limited unemployment insurance can negate such positive effects.

The No. 1 worst state to be unemployed, Missouri, only provides a maximum of 13 weeks. Connecticut and North Carolina — the No. 6 and No. 3 worst states, respectively — are worse, offering at most 12 weeks.

Here are the 10 worst states if you’re unemployed and want a job:

  1. Missouri
  2. Alaska
  3. North Carolina
  4. Kansas
  5. Florida
  6. Connecticut
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Arkansas
  9. Michigan
  10. Georgia

Here is the full list of all 50 states ranked from the best (Colorado) to the worst (Missouri).  Also included are each state’s year-over-year employment growth, unemployment rate and weeks of available unemployment.

Read: How to Survive a Layoff

The Best and Worst States to Be Unemployed If You Want a Job
RankStateEmployment GrowthLabor Force UnemployedMax. Weeks Unemployment Insurance
1Colorado3.14%2.90%26
2Utah2.21%3.10%26
3Massachusetts1.25%3.50%30
4Idaho2.68%2.90%21
5Tennessee1.59%3.40%26
6Minnesota1.40%3.20%26
7Vermont1.00%2.80%26
8Wisconsin0.92%2.80%26
9Texas1.84%4.10%26
10New Hampshire0.59%2.60%26
11Oregon1.78%4.10%26
12South Dakota1.17%3.40%26
13Arizona2.38%4.90%26
14Nevada2.32%4.90%26
15Nebraska0.53%2.80%26
16Hawaii-0.31%2.00%26
17Virginia0.72%3.30%26
18Oklahoma1.28%4.00%26
19Maine0.19%2.70%26
20Indiana0.50%3.20%26
21Washington1.61%4.80%26
22Louisiana1.35%4.50%26
23Delaware0.90%4.20%26
24Montana0.12%4.00%28
25Rhode Island1.01%4.50%26
26Iowa-0.40%2.80%26
27North Dakota-0.64%2.60%26
28California0.55%4.20%26
29Alabama-0.04%3.80%26
30Maryland0.36%4.30%26
31Kentucky0.10%4.00%26
32West Virginia1.22%5.40%26
33New Mexico1.02%5.40%26
34Illinois0.12%4.40%26
35Ohio0.02%4.30%26
36New York-0.36%4.60%26
37South Carolina0.69%4.20%20
38Wyoming-1.18%3.80%26
39Mississippi-0.56%4.60%26
40New Jersey-0.71%4.50%26
41Georgia1.96%4.30%14
42Michigan0.73%4.70%20
43Arkansas-0.02%3.80%20
44Pennsylvania-0.88%4.70%26
45Connecticut-1.25%4.50%26
46Florida1.25%3.90%12
47Kansas-0.24%3.40%16
48North Carolina1.21%4.40%12
49Alaska-0.02%7.30%26
50Missouri-0.38%3.60%13

Something to keep an eye on, though, is the cost of living in each state. For instance, Missouri might be the worst state to be unemployed, but it has the advantage of being the sixth-cheapest state in the country. On the flip side, the No. 3 best state Massachusetts comes with at the cost of the fourth most expensive state in the U.S.

Click to find out why getting close to 0 percent unemployment is dangerous.

More on Career

Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed the three most critical components of each state’s employment situation: employment growth rate, unemployment rate and the number of weeks each state allows residents to collect unemployment insurance compared to the 26 weeks most states allow. We developed a score based on a combination of all three factors and then ranked the states accordingly, from best to worst. We also examined state housing markets by examining median list prices according to the Zillow Home Value Index, as they compare to the $213,146 median home value in the United States as a whole. (This was not included in the final score.)