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Silver lining in unemployment cloud: Extended benefits

Posted October 9, 2008

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— Higher unemployment numbers in North Carolina have triggered additional benefits for the state's jobless.

The state's jobless rate was 6.9 percent in August, up more than 2 percentage points in the past year. It's the highest rate since 2002.

Because the rate has topped 6.5 percent for three months, people whose six months of benefits are expiring could be eligible for extended benefits.

"It's been a very busy time," said David Clegg, deputy chairman of the state Employment Security Commission. "Because of the unprecedented nature of what's going on, we have folks working seven days a week."

Clegg says nearly 300,000 North Carolinians are receiving unemployment benefits, up about 20,000 from a year ago.

Lindsey Mullins is among the newest people on the unemployment rolls.

"We've been job-hunting for seven months. This was the last resort," Mullins said. "It's been real hard on our family, not being able to take the boys to lunch, to have to feed them in the back of the car and stuff."

The Raleigh unemployment office saw about 8,000 people a month at the beginning of the year, and that number has grown to about 14,000 a month.

Clegg said the ESC's phone lines will likely be clogged by people seeking extended benefits, but he urged people to be patient.

"Don't hang up. Stay on that line," he said. "Things will be fine. Everything works out. It's just hard. We do the best that we can to make sure they have everything that they need."

10 Comments

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  • dohicky Oct 10, 2008

    Don't want to sound like a gloomy gus, but where is this money going to come from when all of us working folks are out of work. Great for the folks out of work and glad for them though. Might as well get ready for the US citizens' way of life to change. We will end up being a third world country. Wonder what China and all the foreign countries are going to do when we can't buy the products they are producing for USA greedy companies.

  • rmgirl Oct 10, 2008

    Where is the silver lining for those of us to go to work everyday and can still barely make it?

  • enoughsenough Oct 10, 2008

    I would hate to have to look for work in this tight job market. Good luck to all, especially those with kids to feed/cloth.

  • Foxtrot Delta Tango Oct 10, 2008

    Good luck to Rev and Onehand. I've heard similar stories from people that I've worked with. It's tough to find a job these days. I know people want to get in here and say that if benefits are extended they'll be abused but I honestly think that largely it's very much needed. Why? Think about it, if you're in a situation where you've been laid off are you going to wait or turn down jobs just to get an extra few weeks of benefits? Are you going to wait to start looking? I'm sure some people will but that's life.

    Again, I hope the best for anyone looking for work right now.

  • CestLaVie Oct 10, 2008

    I can feel for all of you, as I went through these very same feelings & problems back in 2002-03 when good ole USA tanked after 9/11. I was unemployed a year. My extended benefits ran out 3 months before I found a job, so we were on the verge of losing our house & car. On top of the stress of trying to stay afloat, financially, there's the stress of looking for a job-not necessarily ANY job, but something close to what you were doing. As onehand meant, why flip burgers when you were prev working in accounting; the unemployment ck was better & helped you hold off, as long as possible. I had the added stress of defending these thoughts & actions against my husband & daughter, who both periodically asked why not just get something to bring in money??

    When that first payck came in, just about a year to the day of my layoff, it felt so sweet. So hang in there. If you are a person of faith, dwell on that faith.

    Sorry Rev RB for your loss-your age & resume are similar to mine.

  • bs101fly Oct 9, 2008

    great, I'll quit my gig tomorrow and retire!
    it's called a "bailout"

  • onehandclapping Oct 9, 2008

    I was laid off in mid August. Right now I'm collecting severance, but when that stops (soon) most of the jobs in my area won't pay as much as unemployment. The only jobs I've located so far were offering less than half what I was making at my job, less than unemployment would pay, and not even close to my field. Since my previous employer paid Unemployment Compensation Insurance, and it's their fault I'm out of work, I will collect the unemployment while looking for something more suited to my skills and salary needs. That's what UCI is for.

    Yes, I could probably have a job next week. There's a chicken place opening up near me and I know how to ask "you want fries with that?" but I think I can do better with a little more time. And I might have to go that route, but I'll resist that type of downgrade as long as possible.

  • mep Oct 9, 2008

    Statistics show that when unemployment benefits are extended, the time it takes to find a job is also extended.... hummm.
    In fact nearly 80% of people out of work find a job right before their benefits expire. Now what the stats do not tell, is if the jobs that are found pay the same, more, or less than the job that was originally lost. No doubt unemployment benefits are a good thing... but they can be a lot like the welfare system. Meant for good, but abused. I too am facing a possible job loss soon, and count on the benefit to help get me through. Thankfully I got out of manufacturing years ago.

  • Adelinthe Oct 9, 2008

    I was laid off a week ago last Monday.

    My resume is at my GOLO profile.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Blue Devils Rule Oct 9, 2008

    I was laid off in 2002 and it took 19 months to find another technical job NEAR my field. The extended unemployment checks were a God Send. I wish the best of luck to the new corp. victims. Stay away from manufacturing!!!