The Uneven Unemployment Rate


Ezra Klein explains how unemployment insurance durations depend on state unemployment rates:

North Dakota, for instance, has a very low unemployment rate. It doesn't make sense to have 99 weeks of unemployment benefits in a state where unemployment is 2.8 percent. That's when unemployment benefits really do discourage work.

But it does make sense to have 99 weeks in Nevada, where the unemployment rate is 13.7 percent. That's a state where the problem is too few jobs, not too few workers willing to take jobs. And that's basically how the three-tiered unemployment insurance system is working: States with high unemployment are getting very long extensions, while states with lower unemployment are getting less. Here's a map breaking it down: