Changes In Unemployment Wage Bases For 2019

Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are states that are seeing a wage base increase this year. Missouri and Vermont are the only states with a decrease.

Some states’ wage base adjustment depends on a percentage of their average annual wage. The following states will see changes in 2020 based on that model: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wyoming.

Trends forecast that the state of Washington may break a record in 2020 for the first state to exceed $50,000 in an unemployment taxable wage base. We will find out in June.

The wage base of some states depends on the balance of their UI trust fund on a specific date.  Missouri, for example, has a lower wage base for this year due to the balance of their fund being within a higher range.  Delaware and Tennessee use the same method of determining how their wage base may fluctuate.

Other states, such as Louisiana, use a forecast of their trust fund balance to determine adjustments.

Oklahoma and Vermont use a method that combine the percentage of their state average annual wage with the balance of their UI fund.

New York’s wages operate under a set increase law.

Tax Rate Changes for 2019

  • Increases in minimum and maximum tax rates: Massachusetts
  • Decrease in minimum and maximum tax rates: Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.
  • Increase in maximum rate with minimum remaining the same: Ohio
  • Decrease in maximum rate with minimum remaining the same: Missouri
  • Decrease in minimum rate with maximum remaining the same: Idaho, Puerto Rico
  • No change in minimum or maximum rates: Montana and Nebraska

New Hampshire adjusts their rates on a quarterly schedule.  They are lower for the first quarter of 2019 than they were most of last year. The rates decreased for the last quarter of last year and remain the same for the current quarter.  The rates for the second quarter of this year are expected in late March.

New York and Mississippi utilize a yearly system and they have yet to finalize the numbers for this year.  New York usually releases the numbers in February and Mississippi follows in March.

Tennessee is expected to release their numbers in the second half of 2019, as they use a 6-month system based on the balance of its UI trust fund.