Related: Budget cuts leave workers in the lurch

Map: Unemployment benefits vary by state

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 

Graphic by Melanie Taube, Investigative Reporting Workshop


States shown in blue provide less than 99 weeks of unemployment insurance.

Source: Workshop research

Thanks to several rounds of federal extensions, many states offer up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. The map shows the states that offer 99 weeks or more of unemployment benefits in white, and all others that offer less than 99 weeks in blue.

The extensions are pegged to the level of unemployment, so states where employment is relatively high offer less long-term support.

Arkansas recently cut back one week of unemployment insurance, from 26 basic weeks to 25 (a change that takes effect in late July ). Michigan and Missouri have cut benefits from 26 weeks to 20 (Missouri’s cuts were immediate, and Michigan’s take effect in early 2012 ). Similar legislation in Florida has been awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature since May.

Iowa is unique in going the other direction: Some people are eligible for 39 weeks of basic help, which, when combined with all the federal extensions, can grant as many as 112 weeks of benefits.

But all the federal extensions are slated to expire in 2012, so unless Congress takes action, unemployed Americans will be abruptly bumped back to their state’s basic benefits come next year. Read more

What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele are revisiting America: What Went Wrong, their landmark 1991 newspaper series, in a new project with the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Over the next year, the project team will examine how four decades of public policy has shaped America's ongoing economic crisis.


Back Story

The authors talk about What Went Wrong

Donald Barlett and James Steele talk about the project, and why they decided to revisit a book they wrote two decades ago, in a series of video clips produced by the Workshop.

Nation's Story

Who pays the taxes?

Who pays the taxes?

We feature charts, maps, photos and other visualizations that reflect the state of the economy as part of our What Went Wrong project. This column chart shows the growing disparity between what individuals and corporations pay in taxes. In the 1950s, the difference was 22 percent. Recent figures show the difference is 62 percent.

Rags to rags: Economic mobility hard to come by

New Pew Center on States report confirms that moving up the American economic ladder is difficult, even though most people have more income than their parents.

Homelessness takes it toll on Florida's youngest

Florida, as a center of the housing boom, still struggles to recover from the Great Recession. Financial stresses and widespread foreclosures have placed families in precarious situations, resulting in a spike in child homelessness. Susannah Nesmith reports in the Broward Bulldog.

Older workers face challenges in Silicon Valley

An advanced degree and experience in the tech sector should be a ticket to a job in today's economy. But older workers in the heart of the new economy, Silicon Valley, are finding their resume is not the issue. Aaron Glantz reports in The Bay Citizen.

 Subscribe to the RSS Feed

Read an Excerpt

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

The Betrayal of the American Dream on Google Books

Check out the first chapter of Barlett and Steele's 2012 book here.