North Carolina can help workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own by giving them time to find new jobs and avoid financial disaster.
Unemployment insurance replaces the wages of workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. In this way, unemployment insurance helps families avoid financial disaster, gives workers time to seek new employment and keeps them in the labor market while ensuring their ability to make ends meet doesn’t create broader harm to the economy.
In an economy that is still producing too few jobs for those who want to work, today’s unemployment insurance system is not helping North Carolina families, communities and the economy.
The system instead has been drastically cut so that:
- TOO FEW jobless workers receive unemployment insurance: 1 in 10 jobless workers receive unemployment insurance in North Carolina, making the state the worst in the nation for reaching those who lose their job.
- TOO LITTLE in wage replacement is provided for jobless workers: The amount of unemployment insurance the average unemployed worker receives is now $256 per week, ranking the state 44th in the nation. Jobless workers will struggle to meet basic needs, cut back on spending and rely on other public programs to bridge the gap as they search for work and thus won’t be able to stabilize the economy. Every dollar in unemployment benefits can translate into $2 in stabilizing effect in the economy.
- TOO SHORT a duration of benefits to keep workers engaged in the labor market: The
maximum weeks in North Carolina for unemployment insurance is now 12 weeks, compared to the prior maximum of 26 weeks, the standard nationally. The result for workers is that they will lose a critical support even while the jobs are not there and retraining for new careers is necessary. As the economy broadly has created longer spells of unemployment, the unemployment insurance changes of North Carolina have actually been worse at ensuring those who lose their job stay engaged in work.