MEDIA RELEASE: Economic analyst: Congress must extend unemployment benefits to speed North Carolina's recovery

Tuesday's vote is will be critical to helping North Carolina's struggling families and moving the economy out of recession

RALEIGH (July 19, 2010) - To help North Carolina's nascent recovery continue, Congress must extend unemployment benefits on Tuesday, economic analysts say.

"North Carolina will lose billions of dollars of economic activity if this legislation doesn't pass," said Alexandra Forter Sirota, a policy analyst with the NC Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center. "A vote not to extend benefits is a vote to extend the recession."

A study from last year showed that unemployment insurance has slowed the recession in all of North Carolina's 100 counties. The benefits generate billions of dollars in economic activity in North Carolina, stimulating the economy and helping families make ends meet.

"It's more important than ever to put money in the pockets of working families," said Sirota. "These benefits will stimulate the economy throughout North Carolina and keep the light at the end of the tunnel on for our state's families."

For the fourth consecutive month, unemployment has fallen in North Carolina. According to data released Friday by the state Employment Security Commission, state unemployment stands at 10 percent.

"The more dollars we see circulating through the economy, the more likely this job growth will continue," Sirota said.

Without a federal vote to extend unemployment benefits through November, the benefits for millions of workers will expire. Tens of thousands of North Carolina workers have lost benefits already, with thousands more losing benefits each week.

The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, July 20 at 2:30 p.m. The vote will come after the swearing in of the Senator-designee from West Virginia, which is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, 919.861.1468, alexandra@ncjustice.org; Jeff Shaw, director of communications, 503.551.3615, jeff@ncjustice.org.

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