MEDIA ADVISORY: Press event to highlight how unemployment benefit cuts have hurt workers, communities

North Carolina's unemployment insurance system offers too little for too few workers for too short a period

WHAT: Press event to highlight how cuts to the state's unemployment system have hurt workers and communities
WHO: The NC Justice Center will feature experts Wayne Vroman of the Urban Institute and George Wentworth of National Employment Law Project
WHEN: Thursday, April 7, 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: North Carolina Museum of History, 5 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh

RALEIGH (April 6, 2016) — The North Carolina Justice Center will host a press event this week to highlight an unemployment system that has proven to be ineffective in serving jobless workers and their communities, even as mass layoffs take place at facilities in Eden, Salisbury, Gaston, and Rowan.

Simply put, too few jobless workers in North Carolina receive too little in unemployment insurance to sustain their families and support the economy for too short a period given the lack of jobs.

  • Too Few: Before changes were enacted in 2013, nearly 4 out of 10 jobless workers received unemployment insurance; today, it's just 1 out of 10 jobless workers.
  • Too Short: Nearly 1 in 3 jobless workers in North Carolina today have been out of work for 26 weeks or more, yet the maximum duration of unemployment insurance is just 13 weeks.
  • Too Little: On average, jobless workers receive $250 less per month in unemployment insurance than they did in 2013, forcing them to make difficult choices between essentials during the job search.

It is critical that policymakers engage with the data on how North Carolina’s unemployment insurance system has underperformed since 2013.

The event will feature speakers Wayne Vroman of the Urban Institute and George Wentworth of the National Employment Law Project, as well as jobless workers and representatives from the NC Justice Center.

Wayne Vroman, a senior fellow in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute, is a labor economist whose work focuses on unemployment insurance and other social protection programs. He has directed several past projects on UI financing, benefit payments, and program administration, and developed simulation models to project the financing of UI in individual states, most recently in Kentucky and Ohio.

George Wentworth joined NELP in 2009 after 35 years of service with the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL), where he was the chief drafter of Connecticut’s unemployment insurance (UI) regulations. At NELP, George works with state organizations advocating for strong unemployment insurance programs and has testified before a number of state legislatures. He has also been a part of NELP’s efforts to insure a meaningful federal response to the national crisis of long-term unemployment.

The event will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 7, at the North Carolina Museum of History located at 5 E. Edenton Street in downtown Raleigh.

More information can be found in the Budget & Tax Center brief Changes in State Unemployment Insurance Hurting Workers and Communities.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Bill Rowe, bill@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2177; Alexandra Forter Sirota, alexandra@ncjustice.org, 919.861.1468; Julia Hawes, julia@ncjustice.org, 919.863.2406.
 

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