New joblessness numbers: unemployment still generating hardships for working families

New joblessness numbers: unemployment still generating hardships for working families
Now is the time, experts say, to extend public benefits and enact other policies which boost the economy and support workers

RALEIGH (Sep. 18, 2009) - According to numbers released today, North Carolina workers still face a long struggle toward economic recovery.

This further highlights the need to preserve vital state programs that protect working families, such as unemployment benefits, an analyst with the NC Justice Center said this morning.
According to numbers released by the state's Employment Security Commission today, North Carolina's unemployment rate stood at 10.8 percent at the end of August 2009.

This compares to the state's 6.6 percent unemployment rate in August, 2008. About 214,000 North Carolinians have lost jobs in the last year.

"North Carolina's economy has been stumbling through a dark tunnel, and the new numbers show that we haven't emerged yet," said Elaine Mejia, director of the NC Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center. "Because unemployment remains so high, it remains essential to help our state's families by maintaining necessary public investments."

With unemployment so high, Mejia said, it is crucial to protect working families. Around 12,000 North Carolina workers will lose their unemployment benefits by the end of this month, 30,000 by the end of December. This places tens of thousands of families in jeopardy.

"Extending unemployment benefits would help North Carolina workers feed their families during a serious recession, and would also stimulate the economy," said Mejia. "This is the perfect time to take such a step, for economic recovery and for community well-being."

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Elaine Mejia, 919.856.2176; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, 919.863.2402 (office), 503.551.3615 (mobile).