While the unemployment rate in the U.S. has improved considerably within the last few years, there are still millions of citizens who are without work. Business closings, hour shortages, and other factors contribute to the number of citizens who are currently seeking work. Recently the unemployment rate has been hovering around 8-8.5 percent. Unemployment has been a huge issue for political campaigns at all governmental levels as voters are looking for solutions. While there does not seem to be a definite solution to the issue, both employers and the government are working towards improving the issues that attribute to the overall unemployment.
In order to help those who are actively seeking employment, the federal government supplies unemployment insurance that is administered at the state level. The goal of unemployment insurance is to provide temporary relief until you return the work force and is administered on either a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
Unemployment in the U.S.
As you will see from the map below, unemployment is not an issue for just certain areas. The highest levels of unemployment are in Nevada, Rhode Island and California. One area that has been severely plagued by unemployment is the West Coast. Two of the highest rates in the country are Nevada (11.6) and California (10.7). These coincidentally also happen to be areas that have been most heavily affected by the housing bubble burst of 2007 which has been the cause of many economic issues in the past several years.
As of June, the number of citizens who are receiving some sort of unemployment benefit was 5.8 million. This is a drop of almost 2 million from last year’s number of 7.3 million during the same period. This could be a good sign of things to come.
Funding Unemployment Insurance
A common misconception is that unemployment insurance is funded by individual tax dollars. This governmental assistance is actually paid by employers who must pay state and federal unemployment tax in accordance with The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA).
Applying for Unemployment
You can find the office that handles unemployment benefits in your state by selecting your location on the map here: Resources by State. Typically you can apply online or by phone. Refer to your state’s website for more information and eligibility requirements.
The best way to insure that you can receive benefits in a timely manner is to apply as soon as you become unemployed. Since states do not have a required wait period for citizens to apply, the sooner you can file the better.