North Carolina has surpassed 3.7 million state and federal unemployment claims for the COVID-19 pandemic, the N.C. Division of Employment Security reported Friday.
On May 21, the state crossed the 1.5 million threshold for individual applicants. There have been 1.51 million claims as of 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Some federal programs require applicants to file additional extended state claims to qualify.
DES reported there were 1,469 claims Tuesday, 1,355 on Wednesday and 1,272 on Thursday.
Outside the recent claim drop-offs on Saturdays, daily claims in North Carolina have stabilized in the 1,000 to 3,200 range during May and June.
Altogether, there were 9,609 claims filed over the past seven days, compared with 10,932 over the previous seven-day period.
About 30% of the 5.03 million North Carolinians in the state’s workforce as of mid-April have filed a state or federal unemployment claim over the past 15 months.
The pandemic high for daily claims was 43,297 on Dec. 27. The temporary expiration of federal extended unemployment benefits in late December contributed to the record high.
North Carolina is at $12.13 billion in initial state and federal UI benefit payments for the pandemic.
Of that amount, regular state benefits are at $1.96 billion, while federal and state extended benefits are at $10.17 billion.
By far the biggest factor in UI benefit payments is the federal pandemic unemployment compensation (FPUC) program at $6.65 billion. That represents about 55% of all UI benefit payments.
When the FPUC program’s weekly benefit was worth up to $600, unemployed and furloughed North Carolinians received just under $4.88 billion from late March 2020 through July 26.
Since the resumption, and with the benefit worth up to $300 a week, FPUC has paid about $1.78 billion in benefits to North Carolinians.
After regular state benefits, the other federal benefit programs providing more than $1 billion in payments has been the pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (PEUC) program at $1.44 billion, and the pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) program at $1.13 billion.
After $8.16 billion in overall state and federal unemployment benefits were paid from late March through Sept. 30, $3.97 billion has been paid since Oct. 1.
On Thursday, the U.S. Labor Department listed North Carolina with 161,225 PEUC recipients as of May 22, as well as 1,505 PUA participants as of May 29 and 81,061 continuing claims as of May 22.
Return to work push
At least 25 states with Republican governors and legislatures, including Georgia, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas, have chosen to discontinue participating in the PEUC and PUA programs or are considering it.
A similar push is being made on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper by North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, as well as several Republican legislative leaders.
The N.C. House approved June 3 by a 71-36 vote Senate Bill 116, which would compel the Cooper administration to withdraw from the programs before Sept. 6.
The Senate has not voted on whether to accept or reject the changes made to SB116.
Political analysts say Cooper is likely to veto the bill if it clears the Senate. With 71 yes votes, which includes seven Democrats, it was one vote short of being able to override a Cooper veto.