BTC BRIEF: The Time is Now: Extending Unemployment Benefits

By Alexandra Forter Sirota, Director, NC Budget & Tax Center
Nov. 2010


  • Since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, $10.1 billion in total unemployment insurance payments were made in North Carolina. Applying an economic multiplier for the impact of unemployment benefits in this recession, these payments have generated $20.2 billion in economic activity in North Carolina.


  • Unemployment benefits provide a modest yet critical support to struggling families, bolstering their buying power in local communities. Recent analysis by the National Employment Law Project found that average unemployment benefits nationwide cover just 50 percent of a family’s basic necessities—housing, food and transportation. In North Carolina, the average monthly unemployment insurance payment of $1,144 represents only 32 percent of a living income standard budget for a family of three.


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