Unemployment

Another 881,000 people applied for state unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department says. That's 130,000 fewer than the previous week. But the report comes with an asterisk.

The department just changed the way it adjusts claims data to account for seasonal variation. That should make the reports more accurate in the weeks to come. But it also means the reported change from the previous week is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Without the seasonal adjustment, state unemployment claims rose by more than 7,500.

NC Unemployment Rate Higher Even As Employed Number Grows

Aug 21, 2020
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RALEIGH — North Carolina's unemployment rate rose in July, the state announced on Friday, even as the overall number of people working grew compared to the previous month.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Ancient state unemployment systems that struggled to handle the first round of COVID-19 relief payments could take months or more to adopt a White House proposal for modifying the benefits, according to memos obtained by NPR.

Such a lag could mean that the roughly 30 million people currently collecting pandemic-related unemployment benefits would see their income drop from a weekly average of $900 to an average of $300 per week.

Merry Collins lost her job as a home health aide in Dallas after the coronavirus outbreak hit. Before she started getting $600 a week in extra federal unemployment benefits, she got behind on the rent. And in June her landlord took her to court to evict her.

"The first day the courts opened here in Dallas," she says, "that's when they filed for eviction."

Library of Congress

Monday, July 20, 2020

Some of the protections that were stitched into the country's social safety net because of the pandemic are nearing an end, including extra unemployment benefits and moratoria on evictions. But the need for public relief shows no sign of ending. 

North Carolina Unemployment Rate Falls To 7.6% In June

Jul 17, 2020
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North Carolina's jobless rate declined dramatically in June, the state announced on Friday, as restaurants, hotels and retailers bounced back since Gov. Roy Cooper's COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

florida-unemployment.org

This story was originally published by ProPublica.

By March, when the coronavirus began accelerating through the United States, Shawn Hill-Watkins had been working as a cashier at a Food Lion supermarket in High Point, North Carolina, for seven months, taking three buses to work and back each day. She couldn’t afford the groceries she was ringing up for customers, but she had always been outgoing and knew how to keep the mood upbeat. Older regulars at the market sought out her line. They knew her by the colorful silk flowers she had sewn for herself, which she would wear behind her ear.

Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET

The U.S economy rebounded with surprising strength last month as businesses began to reopen from the coronavirus lockdown. U.S. employers added 2.5 million jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%.

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Updated at 8:47 a.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed unemployment to its highest level since the Great Depression, but the pace of layoffs has been easing. And there are now some signs that the job market could slowly start to recover.

The Labor Department says another 1.87 million people filed claims for unemployment insurance last week. That's down 249,000 from the previous week. While still very high by historical standards, the number has been declining steadily from a peak of 6.8 million the week ending March 28.

Americans are skipping payments on mortgages, auto loans and other bills. Normally, that could mean massive foreclosures, evictions, cars repossessions and people's credit getting destroyed.

But much of that has been put on pause. Help from Congress and leniency from lenders have kept impending financial disaster at bay for millions of people. But that may not last for long.

Head Of NC Unemployment Office Replaced By Ex-Legislator

May 27, 2020
Flickr

RALEIGH — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper replaced the head of the state unemployment benefits office on Wednesday with a former legislator as the agency struggles to address an unprecedented onslaught of pandemic-related job loss claims.

florida-unemployment.org

RALEIGH — North Carolina's unemployment rate ballooned to just over 12% in April as the state dealt with a coronavirus-related economic slowdown, state officials said Friday.

Updated at 11:43 a.m. ET

The Labor Department delivered a historically bad employment report Friday, showing 20.5 million jobs lost last month as the nation locked down against the coronavirus. The jobless rate soared to 14.7% — the highest level since the Great Depression.

The highest monthly job loss before this was 2 million in 1945, as the nation began to demobilize after World War II. The worst monthly job loss during the Great Recession was 800,000 in March 2009.

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We're now more than a month into the coronavirus crisis in North Carolina with still no end in sight, and the number of people out of work continues to climb higher and higher. According to some estimates, the U.S. unemployment rate could touch 16% by July -- higher than at any point since the Great Depression.

Post South End

It's the first of the month and that means rent is due for many people who may have lost their jobs due to business closures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Kim Graham is the head of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, a group whose members include owners and property managers of more than 165,000 apartments throughout the region. She joined WFAE's Morning Edition host Lisa Worf.

Joe O'Connor / WFAE

RALEIGH — North Carolina's restaurant and hotel operators pleaded Tuesday for state financial aid and tax relief as closings and travel restrictions from the new coronavirus have thrown more than 370,000 of their employees out of work.

Updated on April 6 at 9:37 1.m. ET

A record 10 million people filed for initial unemployment benefits in the past two weeks, with many more anticipated in coming weeks. All this has put a huge strain on state employment agencies, so experts say persistence is key to getting those benefits.

Updated at 10:51 a.m. ET

A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country. The Labor Department's report for the week ended March 21 was one of the first official indicators of how many people have suddenly been forced out of work nationally.

In the prior report, for the week ended March 14, initial claims totaled 282,000.

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Layoffs have already begun in many workplaces around North Carolina -- especially at restaurants and retail stores -- as fears of the coronavirus mount and elected officials urge people to stay home. If you're let go from your job, what should you do?

NC Cuts Unemployment Benefits, Pays Down Federal Debt

Apr 3, 2014
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North Carolina is on pace to pay back its huge debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance by the end of next year. That's largely because the state slashed unemployment benefits.


Anyone applying for unemployment benefits in North Carolina now faces new requirements. They include providing a valid government issued photo ID at a face-to-face meeting. Those who don’t, risk losing their benefits. 


The unemployment rate dropped significantly in November from 8 to 7.4 percent.  The rate has fallen 2 percentage points in the past year and is the lowest it’s been since 2008.  But that’s not all cause for celebration. 

The labor force decreased by about 8,100.  Allan Freyer, an analyst with the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, says the rate dropped so much because many people just became discouraged and stopped looking for work. 

Military's Huge Impact In NC May Shrink

Nov 5, 2013

The military supports roughly 540,000 jobs in North Carolina, but its presence may shrink over the next few years. That's according to a report the N.C. Commerce Department released Tuesday.


Michael Tomsic

Food banks in North Carolina that are struggling to keep up with high demand are getting emergency relief from Governor Pat McCrory's administration. McCrory announced Monday they'll split $750,000 over the next few weeks, in part to help them get through the partial government shutdown. But demand at food banks has been rising since before the shutdown and can also be traced to changes on the state level.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

About 80 people were arrested at the state house in Raleigh Monday night. It was the culmination of the latest “Moral Monday”—a series of protests led by the NAACP, against Governor Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders. All told, nearly 700 have been arrested in the nine weeks of demonstrations. As the protests have continued to grow, WFAE’s Ben Bradford documented the latest event.

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A North Carolina legislative committee approved a plan Tuesday to cut unemployment benefits and raise taxes on some businesses. Republicans behind the plan say those are necessary steps to pay back more than $2.5 billion the state owes the federal government.


Peter Shanks/Flickr

The combination of tax raises and spending cuts, known as the fiscal cliff, begins taking effect on Wednesday. If no compromise is reached in Washington, North Carolina could lose nearly 30,000 jobs and three percent of its economic output, according to a July report from George Mason University. That’s next year alone. Overall, North Carolina would face more than a $120 billion in cuts over the next decade.

State Unemployment Report Shows Modest Improvement

Dec 21, 2012
North Carolina Department of Commerce *Data is preliminary.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to a seasonally-adjusted 9.1 percent in November, according to the latest data today from the state’s Commerce Department. That’s still more than a point above the national rate of 7.7 percent, but it’s still more “ho ho ho” than “bah humbug.”

While it decreased by 0.2 percent, North Carolina’s unemployment is still the fifth highest in the nation. But, there’s some trends that have Clemson University economist Bruce Yandle feeling the holiday spirit.

Helping The Unemployed Learn On The Job

Oct 8, 2012

Sheila Hemphill is a grant specialist with Charlotte Works. She interacts with a lot of job seekers – including many who have been unemployed for a very long time.