Unemployment Rate by State – October 2020

Are you interested in the unemployment rate in your state? Are you trying to see which states have the highest and lowest unemployment rates for October 2020? You’ve come to the right place. Each month, we publish the unemployment rate by state, using data released by the federal government. We have provided below the complete list of unemployment rate by state – October 2020.

In addition, we have further broken down the list, showing the top 10 states with the highest and lowest unemployment rates for the month of October.

Finally, we have answered below the most frequently asked questions about unemployment, including unemployment benefits related to COVID-19, states that pay the most in unemployment, who is eligible for unemployment, and more.

"Unemployment Rate by State October 2020"

This post will cover:

  • Unemployment Rate by State – October 2020
  • Top 10 States with the Highest Unemployment in October 2020
  • The Top 10 States With the Lowest Unemployment in October 2020
  • Unemployment FAQs

Unemployment Rate by State October 2020

According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Hawaii had the highest unemployment rate in October 2020, with 14.2 percent, followed by Nevada, 11.9 percent, and Louisiana, 9.4 percent. Nebraska had the lowest unemployment rate in June of 3.0 percent.

Nationally, the United States Unemployment Rate for October 2020 was 6.9%.

Below is the complete list by state, seasonally adjusted. We have also provided the unemployment rate for October 2019 for comparison.

State October 2020 Unemployment Rate October 2019 Unemployment Rate
Alabama 5.7% 2.8%
Alaska 5.9% 6.2%
Arizona 7.9% 4.8%
Arkansas 6.2% 3.5%
California 9.0% 3.9%
Colorado 6.4% 2.6%
Connecticut 6.1% 3.6%
Delaware 5.6% 3.7%
District of Columbia 8.3% 5.4%
Florida 6.4% 3.2%
Georgia 4.5% 3.4%
Hawaii 14.2% 2.7%
Idaho 5.5% 2.9%
Illinois 7.4% 3.9%
Indiana 5.5% 3.2%
Iowa 3.7% 2.6%
Kansas 5.0% 3.1%
Kentucky 7.3% 4.3%
Louisiana 9.4% 4.5%
Maine 5.4% 2.8%
Maryland 7.7% 3.6%
Massachusetts 7.4% 2.9%
Michigan 6.1% 4.1%
Minnesota 4.6% 3.2%
Mississippi 7.4% 5.5%
Missouri 4.6% 3.1%
Montana 5.0% 3.4%
Nebraska 3.0% 3.1%
Nevada 11.9% 4.1%
New Hampshire 4.2% 2.6%
New Jersey 8.0% 3.2%
New Mexico 8.1% 4.8%
New York 9.2% 4.0%
North Carolina 6.2% 4.0%
North Dakota 4.7% 2.5%
Ohio 6.1% 4.2%
Oklahoma 6.2% 3.3%
Oregon 6.8% 4.1%
Pennsylvania 7.4% 4.2%
Rhode Island 7.1% 3.6%
South Carolina 4.2% 2.6%
South Dakota 3.7% 3.0%
Tennessee 7.3% 3.4%
Texas 6.9% 3.4%
Utah 4.1% 2.5%
Vermont 3.2% 2.2%
Virginia 5.2% 2.6%
Washington 6.0% 4.5%
West Virginia 6.4% 4.8%
Wisconsin 6.0% 3.3%
Wyoming 5.5% 3.8%

"Which state currently has the highest unemployment rate - October"

These 10 States Have The Highest Unemployment in October

Here are the top ten states with the highest jobless rates, according to newly released federal data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

State October 2020 Rate
Maryland 7.7%
Arizona 7.9%
New Jersey 8.0%
New Mexico 8.1%
District of Columbia 8.3%
California 9.0%
New York 9.2%
Louisiana 9.4%
Nevada 11.9%
Hawaii 14.2%

These 10 States Have The Lowest Unemployment in October

Here are the top ten states with the lowest jobless rates, according to newly released federal data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

State October 2020 Rate
Nebraska 3.0%
Vermont 3.2%
Iowa 3.7%
South Dakota 3.7%
Utah 4.1%
New Hampshire 4.2%
South Carolina 4.2%
Georgia 4.5%
Minnesota 4.6%
Missouri 4.6%

Unemployment FAQs

These are the most frequently asked questions about unemployment benefits, including those related to COVID-19 unemployment benefits.

General Unemployment Benefit Questions

What is Unemployment Insurance (Unemployment Benefits)?

Unemployment insurance (also known as UI) provides temporary cash benefits to employees who have lost their jobs.

If you have worked in your state within the last 18 months and lost your job, through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for UI.

What are the basic eligibility requirements to apply for unemployment?

Eligibility requirements may vary by state, but generally, to be eligible for unemployment, you must meet the following requirements.

1. Be fully or partially unemployed;
2. Be unemployed through no fault of your own [the law imposes disqualifications for certain types of separations from employment];
3. Be physically and mentally able to work full time*;
4. Be available for full-time work*;
5. Be registered with the American Job Center (this may vary by state);
6. Be actively seeking work by making reasonable efforts to find employment each week;
7. Participate in selected reemployment services if you are identified as a dislocated worker by the profiling system;
8. File your weekly claims as directed.

*Individuals who cannot work because of a physical or mental impairment that is chronic or expected to be long-term or permanent may qualify for benefits if they are available for suitable part-time work.

What are the requirements for filing a valid claim?

Here are the requirements for a valid unemployment insurance claim:

  1. You must have worked in employment subject to UI tax (known as covered employment) and received wages in at least two (2) quarters of your base period.
  2. You must also have been paid wages totaling at least six (6) times the average weekly insured wage during your base period.

The exact amount of benefits and the duration of those benefits cannot be determined until you actually file your claim for benefits.

How long do Unemployment Insurance benefits last?

In most states, the limit is 26 weeks per year.

However, the federal government recently created a new program called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) that provides more benefits.

The PEUC program allows claimants who exhaust their regular UI benefits to receive up to 13 additional weeks of benefits.

​How much in Unemployment benefits will I receive?

How much you will receive in unemployment benefits is based on your “Base Period”.

What is the base period?

Your base period is the time frame used to determine whether you are monetarily eligible to receive unemployment payments.

This varies by state but generally, it includes the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters.

Individuals who cannot establish monetary eligibility using wages in the previously described base period will use an alternate base period.

The alternate base period consists of the four calendar quarters immediately preceding the quarter in which the claim is filed.

To determine if a person has sufficient wage credits, the law requires that he or she must have total base period earnings that equals or exceeds 40 times the Weekly Benefit Rate.

What is the maximum weekly Unemployment amount by state?

The maximum Weekly unemployment benefits vary by state.

They range from $1,234 in Massachusetts to $235 in Mississippi.

For a full list of minimum and maximum weekly unemployment benefits by state, see our post here.

Additionally, you may be eligible for federal Coronavirus Aid, which may provide a temporary emergency increase in unemployment benefits

​How long will it take to receive my benefits?

If you apply for Unemployment Benefits and are approved, you will receive benefits in two to four weeks for your initial claim.

Benefit payments are issued via Direct Deposit or a debit card provided by your state’s unemployment agency.

Can I quit my job and collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

The general rule is that a person who voluntarily leaves suitable work without good cause, attributable to the employer, is not eligible for unemployment benefits.

However, there are a few non-job-related reasons for quitting under which a person may be approved for benefits.

These include quitting to care for a spouse, child, or parent with an illness or disability, and quitting to escape domestic violence.

For good cause to be attributable to the employer, it must relate to the wages, hours, or working conditions of the job.

Will my employer know if I file for Unemployment?

When an employee files for unemployment, the employer will receive a notification from the state unemployment commission.

The notification will be based on information provided by the employee supporting his or her application for benefits.

Once the employer receives the claim notice they need to take action.

The action the employer takes depends on whether they want to contest the claim or not.

What disqualifies you from getting unemployment?

Here are the most common reasons you may be denied unemployment benefits.

  • Work-related misconduct
  • Voluntary Resignation
  • Not looking for work
  • Being unable to work
  • Refusal to Accept Suitable Work
  • Not Meeting Earnings Requirements
  • Immigration Status
  • Attending School or Training
  • Committing Unemployment Fraud
  • Failure to File Appeal on Time
  • Receiving severance pay
  • Problems With Florida’s Unemployment System

I’m self-employed. How do I file for unemployment benefits?

If you are self-employed or a gig worker and have lost income due to COVID-19, you are most likely eligible for unemployment benefits under a special program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

In most states, PUA is separate from the regular Unemployment Insurance program your state offers.

To learn how to file in your state, visit your state’s Unemployment Insurance website and read the FAQs or special instructions for COVID-19 unemployment.

Additionally, you can search your state’s website for “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” or “PUA” or “self-employed unemployment.”

I think somebody filed for unemployment in my name. What should I do?

If you suspect unemployment fraud, you should immediately file a fraud report with your state’s unemployment agency.

Visit your state’s unemployment insurance website and search for information on fraud.

Additionally, some states have a hotline you can call.

They may also ask you to fill out a form.

Regardless of the method you choose, you should file a report even if you are not sure that someone has filed or tried to file.

Unemployment Rate by State October 2020 Summary

We hope this post on Unemployment Rate by State October 2020 was helpful.

If you have further questions about unemployment or unemployment insurance benefits, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles on Unemployment Benefits, including:
Unemployment Rate by State – September 2020
Whether Unemployment Benefits are Taxable
List of States Extending Unemployment Benefits
Massachusetts DUA Unemployment Debit Card
How to file for Unemployment (in all 50 States)
Unemployment office Phone Number (All 50 States)