RALEIGH (July 9, 2021) – This week the U.S. Department of Labor released the latest weekly data on Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims, showing that the number of jobless workers making initial UI claims in North Carolina continued to decline.

There were 4,538 initial claims filed in North Carolina during the week of June 26th, a reduction from the prior week’s initial claims and a decline by 25,000 claims from the prior year’s initial claims during the same week. Notably, data on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims also show a decline over the past week.

National experts have noted states like North Carolina that maintained the federal $300 per week in Unemployment Insurance fared better in the latest data than those that have withdrawn from the federal program.

“Unfortunately, governors across the country overreacted to a perfectly understandable pace for a labor market recovery of this magnitude,” said Andrew Stettner, Senior Fellow with The Century Foundation, of the latest data. “Rather than maintain jobless benefits that were helping—not hurting—the job match process, conservative governors chose instead to rip the carpet from beneath those in need. The move was as callous and shortsighted then as it is now: today’s data indicate that the elimination of the $300 federal supplement has had little influence on whether or not individuals claim state jobless benefits. In the week ending June 26, claims for state benefits in the 12 states without the $300 top-off were actually up by an average of 16 percent in one week, while in the 39 states that kept the federal supplement in effect, claims decreased by an average of 2 percent.”

Last week, Governor Cooper vetoed SB 116 which would have withdrawn the state from federal Unemployment Insurance early, cutting nearly 300,000 jobless North Carolinians from wage replacement while they looked for jobs.

“Governor Cooper made the right decision for jobless workers and businesses. Unemployment Insurance provides a critical stabilizing force in the local economy, keeping people spending and engaged in looking for work while jobs return,” said Bill Rowe, Deputy Director of Advocacy at NC Justice Center. “It’s time for the General Assembly to move forward with fixes to the state UI system that will further help with the recovery—notably making sure that North Carolinians who take part-time work can access UI to stabilize their income and establishing a work-sharing program option for employers so they can keep workers who know their business.”

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