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N&O EDITORIAL: “A Crisis Looms for NC” as Unemployment Insurance Expires This Month


July 20, 2020

N&O EDITORIAL: “A Crisis Looms for NC” as Unemployment Insurance Expires This Month

Shock Would Be Especially Strong in North Carolina” If Tillis and Burr Cut Federal Unemployment Payments

RALEIGH, N.C. - Today, the Raleigh News & Observer published an editorial calling for Congress to extend expanded federal unemployment insurance payments past July 31. The News & Observer called the expiration “a crisis” and pointed out that “the shock would be especially strong in North Carolina” because the state’s meager state unemployment payments are capped at $350 per week.

Economists have warned that such an expiration would cause a “huge drop in income” for working families and would slow any possible economic recovery. Last month, Senator Thom Tillis said that extending unemployment may “make the problem worse.” Senator Richard Burr has so far refused to comment.

“If Senator Tillis and Senator Burr fail to act, hundreds of thousands of North Carolina families would take a massive pay cut in less than a week and find themselves unable to pay for basic expenses like rent, prescription drugs, and food,” said Piedmont Rising Executive Director Casey Wilkinson. “It’s time for Tillis and Burr stop playing games and acknowledge the precarious economic reality that hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians are living with every day. North Carolinians are calling on their senators to prevent a pandemic pay cut and extend federal unemployment insurance past the end of July.” 

More from the News & Observer:

  • North Carolina, along with the rest of the nation, is a week away from going over a cliff”

  • “If we do see an effective end (to benefits), in August you will see serious delinquencies on mortgages, people not paying rents, businesses folding”

  • “The shock would be especially strong in North Carolina, where more than 600,000 individuals are receiving unemployment benefits”

  • “Without the federal subsidy, the unemployed will have to rely solely on the state’s unemployment insurance program – one of the stingiest in the nation. The state program pays a maximum of $350 a week, the equivalent of earning about $9 per hour. The average payment is $277 a week.”


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