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Initial unemployment benefit claims stabilizing in low four-figure range

Initial unemployment benefit claims stabilizing in low four-figure range

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The extension of four federal unemployment benefit programs last week has contributed to the stabilizing of daily initial claims in North Carolina.

The state Division of Employment Security reported Friday there have been a combined 28,494 claims filed from March 12 through Thursday.

That total includes 10,428 claims filed on March 14 — the day after that the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs were set to expire.

The latest Democratic-sponsored COVID-19 relief bill, which President Joe Biden signed into law March 11, extended both programs through at least Sept. 6.

DES said March 11 is awaiting formal guidance from U.S. Labor officials on updating the extended federal unemployment insurance benefits programs.

As of 10 a.m. Friday, the PUA and PEUC programs had paid a combined $2.06 billion in benefits to North Carolinians.

On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department listed North Carolina with 198,463 PEUC recipients as of March 6, as well as 3,472 PUA participants.

Altogether, there have been 1.47 million initial state claims.

There have been 3.48 million initial state and federal claims during the COVID-19 pandemic in North Carolina because some federal programs require filing additional state claims.

About 29.1% of the 5.03 million North Carolinians considered part of the state’s workforce as of mid-January have filed a state or federal unemployment claim.

There have been $10.65 billion in UI funds paid since March 15, 2020, to unemployed and furloughed North Carolinians.

After $8.16 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits were paid from late March through Sept. 30, there had been just $2.49 billion since Oct. 1.

When the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation weekly benefit was worth up to $600, unemployed and furloughed North Carolinians received just under $4.88 billion from late March through July 26.

Since the resumption with the benefit currently worth up to $300 a week, FPUC has paid about $880 million in benefits to North Carolinians.

As of Friday, regular state unemployment payments were at $1.87 billion, with only about $160 million being paid out since Oct. 1.

Most unemployed and furloughed North Carolinians began exhausting their 12 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits in June and well before Oct. 1. The maximum number of weeks was raised to 16 in January for new claimants.

The state had $3.85 billion in the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund in mid-March. State legislators said Sept. 2 that between $2.9 billion and $3 billion remained in the fund at that time. The third COVID-19 relief bill added $87 million.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Feb. 4 that the fund contains $2.59 billion, and that he supports drawing down additional money from the fund.




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