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News and Alerts

Deadline to Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance is Oct. 10

Friday, Oct 1, 2021

Following a federal disaster declaration due to the effects of Tropical Storm Fred, three North Carolina counties were approved for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA): Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties. 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Available in Three N.C. Counties

Friday, Sep 10, 2021

Following a federal disaster declaration due to the effects of Tropical Storm Fred, the Division of Employment Security (DES) has announced that three North Carolina counties have been approved for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

North Carolina Reinstates Certain Unemployment Benefits Requirements

Thursday, Sep 2, 2021

As federal unemployment benefits end in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper today issued an Executive Order that reinstates certain unemployment benefits requirements after Sept. 4, 2021. 

North Carolina Makes First Lost Wages Assistance Payments

Thursday, Sep 3, 2020

On Sept. 3, the Division of Employment Security (DES) began issuing payments for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) to eligible North Carolinians, less than four weeks after federal officials announced the program on Aug. 8.

Division of Employment Security Takes Precautions after Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

Monday, Jun 29, 2020

The North Carolina Division of Employment Security is taking recommended health and safety precautions after one of its employees received a diagnosis of COVID-19.

Apply for Unemployment Benefits Extension Beginning May 22

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Beginning Friday, May 22, North Carolinians who have exhausted their state unemployment insurance benefits can apply for an extension of benefits through the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC).

Division of Employment Security Discusses Unemployment Benefits with Senate Committee

Monday, May 18, 2020

Today, Lockhart Taylor, assistant secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce Division of Employment Security (DES), briefed the Senate Committee on Commerce and Insurance on the division’s work over the last two months to get relief to North Carolinians who have lost their jobs as a r

North Carolinians Can Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Beginning April 24

Thursday, Apr 23, 2020

North Carolina independent contractors and self-employed workers out of work because of COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance beginning this Friday, April 24 at des.nc.gov. 

DES to Triple Staff to Meet Unprecedented Surge in Unemployment Claims

Friday, Apr 17, 2020

In the last month, more than 630,000 people have filed for unemployment insurance benefits in North Carolina, mostly due to the impacts of COVID-19.

North Carolinians Begin to Receive Additional $600 in Weekly Unemployment Assistance

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020

In the past 24 hours, the Division of Employment Security has made more than $100 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments to North Carolinians receiving unemployment assistance, ahead of its timeline to begin FPUC payments by April 17. 

Sours: https://des.nc.gov/newsalerts

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) -As federal unemployment benefits end in North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper Thursday issued an Executive Order that reinstates certain unemployment benefits requirements after Sept. 4, 2021.

Executive Order No. 231 reinstates the waiting period for unemployment benefits under state law and directs the Division of Employment Security to resume charging of employer accounts for all individuals paid unemployment benefits, including those unemployed for reasons related to COVID-19.

Under the Order, all unemployment claimants will be subject to a one-week waiting period before they may receive their first unemployment benefit payment, as is required under state law.

Employers’ unemployment accounts will be charged each quarter for all employees who were paid unemployment benefits that quarter.

The reinstatement of the waiting week and employer charging coincides with the end of federal pandemic unemployment programs and the expiration of federal reimbursement for some benefits related to COVID-19.

For weeks beginning after Sept 4, state unemployment benefits will be the only benefits available in North Carolina.

Copyright 2021 WITN. All rights reserved.

Sours: https://www.wect.com/2021/09/03/north-carolina-reinstates-certain-unemployment-benefits-requirements/
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State Democrats renew push to expand North Carolina’s unemployment insurance

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Now that the federal unemployment benefits have ended, Democrats in North Carolina are renewing their call for changes to the state’s benefits system, saying it doesn’t do enough to ensure people can get by when they lose their jobs.

Sen. Wiley Nickel (D-Wake) called North Carolina’s benefits “basically the worst in the country” and is calling for an increase in how much money people can receive each week as well as the length of time they could receive those benefits.

“For many, this is a very rude awakening to see that their state unemployment benefits cover so little after the federal benefits have gone away,” he said.

In North Carolina, people can receive a maximum of $350 per week in state benefits for between 12-20 weeks. Under the American Rescue Plan, people who qualified received an additional $300 per week on top of what they received from the state. Those payments ended earlier this month.

Nickel has sponsored a bill that would raise the maximum state benefit to $500 per week and offer that for up to 26 weeks.

As many businesses reported challenges in hiring people, Republicans pushed earlier this to stop the federal benefits early. About half of states made that move. In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed a bill that would have done that, saying it would have taken money out of the state’s economy and harmed families using that money to pay their bills.

Data from NCWorks showed more job openings in North Carolina than people applying for those positions. The agency’s labor market data showed, as of Monday, there were about 242,000 jobs listed compared to about 162,000 candidates. That reflects a nationwide issue, as the U.S. reported last week there was a record-high number of 10.9 million job openings in July.

“The ‘Help Wanted’ signs all over most downtowns show the problem with the economy right now is a labor shortage, not reduced unemployment benefits. It’s no surprise that Democrats are pushing this policy, though, since they’d like to see government checks go out to everybody all the time,” wrote Pat Ryan, spokesman for Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, in an email.

As CBS17 has previously reported, there are nearly 40,000 jobs in the hospitality industry alone that are unfilled. That does not account for new businesses opening or current businesses that may seek to expand.

“The fact that we’re nearly 40,000 workers down right now means that we likely need many more workers than that to fill the job vacancies that currently exist in the industry,” said Lynn Minges, CEO and President of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Nickel said child care and wages are key reasons that many people are not coming back into the workforce. He also said the state can afford to make the changes to its benefits system, as the unemployment insurance trust fund still has just over $2.7 billion in it.

Jenni Propst, who works behind the scenes at live events, was unemployed for most of the last 18 months. While she’s back working full-time now, she’s concerned about whether COVID-19 cases could lead to her being out of work again at some point.

She said without the additional federal unemployment benefits, it “would have been completely devastating” for her and many of her colleagues.

“I don’t know how we’ll survive without more help. The state of North Carolina has abysmal unemployment insurance,” Propst said. “It will put workers on the streets if we had to rely only on North Carolina unemployment again.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Sours: https://www.cbs17.com/news/capitol-report/state-democrats-renew-push-to-expand-north-carolinas-unemployment-insurance/

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News and Alerts

Oct . 10 Deadline to Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance  

Following a federal disaster declaration due to the effects of Tropical Storm Fred, three North Carolina counties were approved for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA): Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties. 

The 30-day period to apply for DUA ends Oct. 10, 2021. People in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties who became unemployed as a direct result of Tropical Storm Fred may apply at des.nc.gov. 

Learn more

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Ended Sept. 4, 2021

The week ending Sept. 4, 2021, was the last payable week for all federal pandemic unemployment programs in North Carolina. These programs have now ended:

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) 
  • Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

More Information and FAQs

More news and alerts

Sours: https://des.nc.gov/

Nc unemployment update

Since federal unemployment pay ended, are NC residents getting back to work?

The George on the Riverwalk in Wilmington, NC faced issues finding employees this summer.

Following a summer when workers were hard to find, the Boojum Brewing Taproom in the Western North Carolina town of Waynesville is finally getting more applicants. Over on the coast, a Wilmington-area employment agency has been fielding extra calls.

And last week, organizers of a job fair in the Piedmont city of Burlington saw their largest turnout to date.

Across the state, signs suggest the expiration of federal unemployment benefits on Sept. 4 — which cut payments to unemployed North Carolinians by at least $300 a week — is having an impact. 

Employers should appreciate any extra hands. During the pandemic, chronic labor shortages in North Carolina and beyond have contributed to reduced operating hours, curtailed production, higher wages, and closures. 

For months, top North Carolina Republicans criticized the pandemic-era federal unemployment programs for keeping potential workers at home. In May, Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr called on Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, to opt-out of the benefit programs early, writing in a joint statement in May that “exorbitant federal unemployment benefits” were perpetrating a labor crisis.

But others say it remains unclear whether removing these benefits will put a dent in the more than 400,000 positions currently open statewide. For while some may attribute labor shortages to a single factor, what motivates North Carolinians to work — or not work — is often more complex.

More:Wilmington restaurants face drastic decisions amid supply, labor issues

A very popular job fair

Lisa Arnette intentionally scheduled a job fair for Sept. 15, more than a week after federal unemployment benefits ended.

“We specially set aside this time for that reason,” said Arnette, who manages Alamance County's NC Works career center, a publicly funded employment agency with offices statewide.

Prior to the pandemic, residents only collected unemployment benefits from the state's unemployment insurance fund. Then in March 2020, as joblessness soared during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, Congress approved a set of unemployment benefit programs within its multi-trillion-dollar coronavirus relief act. The main program included an additional weekly benefit of $600, which Congress later lowered to $300-a-week.

But as time went on, many state leaders saw any amount of federal unemployment assistance as too much. Officials in 26 states stopped accepting the benefits early, believing the additional money was keeping residents from earnestly seeking work. To the frustration of many state Republicans, North Carolina continued accepting the federal dollars until the end (In July, Gov. Cooper vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would've withdrawn the state from the federal unemployment programs.)

The Tar Heel State offers some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the country, with weekly payments maxing out at $350 and typically falling lower. A resident can receive payments for between 12 to 20 weeks, depending on the state unemployment rate.

When the federal supplement was added to state benefits, some unemployed North Carolinians were getting $650 each week, an amount, Senators Tillis and Burr highlighted, that is greater than what someone making $15-an-hour would earn during a 40-hour week.

“It’s no wonder so many have delayed returning to work as long as possible,” the senators said in their joint statement.

According to NC Works, North Carolina had more than 419,500 open jobs in August, a total that's grown by 25% over the past year. Healthcare is the industry with the most openings, with around 51,000 available positions last month. 

As of August, around 215,000 North Carolinians were on unemployment. 

If Alamance’s job fair is any indication, more people are wanting to work. Last week’s event, Arnette said, was “by far” the best attended since her office began periodically hosting fairs in the summer of 2020. About 70 people came by the NC Works career center in Burlington, she said. Some were hired on the spot.

While Arnette recognizes job seekers may have been motivated by the lower unemployment benefits, she also noted more parents traditionally look for work in September once their children return to school.

The George on the Riverwalk in Wilmington posts a note explaining how labor shortages forced them to close for a few weeks.

For when it comes to identifying why people move in or out of the workforce, multiple factors often work in concert. Polls show the absence of childcare options has kept many people, especially women, from seeking jobs while fears of contracting COVID-19 have kept others away from in-person, consumer-facing positions. 

People are also rethinking how they work. Since the pandemic began, a record number of North Carolinians have started their own businesses. Others appear to have simply stopped looking for work: The state's labor force participation rate — which includes those working and those seeking work — is about 2.5% below pre-pandemic levels.

“There’s the argument that there could be just a general change in tastes and preferences," said Jeffrey Sarbaum, an economist at UNC-Greensboro. "People might no longer look at commutes and 40-hour work weeks the same. And as long as the Delta risk and the COVID risk are out there, it will likely be hard for certain places to hire."

Samantha Neesley, a bartender in Asheville, has seen "a huge issue with understaffing," but believes it "has more to do with people changing careers to something outside the service industry rather than people just sitting on unemployment."

Other external factors, like rising housing costs, may further lead to a dearth of workers.

“I think a lot of this current labor shortage is due to folks leaving the industry altogether as well as leaving Western North Carolina because the generally low wages in restaurants do not afford the ability to pay for the high cost of living,” said Jason Walsh, the executive chef at Boojum Brewing Taproom in Waynesville.

Still, Walsh has seen more people apply to his kitchen this month, leading him to believe the lowering of unemployment benefits has had an impact.

More:Asheville labor market: 23,301 job openings in region but not enough workers

'It's definitely ringing a lot more'

Others have observed more worker interest this month too.

“In the beginning of August, it really was like pulling teeth trying to get people to work,” said David Sheehan, a branch manager at Employment Solutions, which helps match workers to jobs in the Wilmington area.

In the two weeks since the federal unemployment payments expired, Sheehan said more people have called in looking for work, though this increase hasn’t been as great as he anticipated.

“It's definitely ringing a lot more, it’s just that we are expecting people flooding into the door,” he said.

What effect the recent unemployment benefits had on overall employment remains murky. Job creation numbers in states that left the federal unemployment program early were similar to those in states that remained in the program.

 A Help Wanted sign is displayed in the window of a restaurant at a shopping center in Charlotte.

“My prior (assumption) would have been you would have seen more jobs in states that ended those programs early, and we really didn’t see that,” said Adam Jones, a professor of economics and finance at UNC-Wilmington.

Trying to isolate one factor as the cause of unemployment can be misguided, economists like Jones and Sarbaum say. As an example, both men mentioned that as dozens of states stopped accepting federal unemployment payments this summer, the Delta variant began spreading

“There are a lot of folks that are scared of this thing still,” Jones said of potential workers.

When North Carolina’s September unemployment rate comes out next month, economists caution against concluding too much. Lower unemployment benefits might play a factor. Or the Delta variant. Or housing prices. Or geopolitical strife halfway across the world. Such is the interconnectedness of the modem economy.

More:Employers can require COVID-19 vaccinations. The question is whether they should

Brian Gordon is a statewide reporter with the USA Today Network in North Carolina. Reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @briansamuel92.

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State Democrats renew push to expand North Carolina's unemployment insurance

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