Local News

Stimulus will help N.C. pay unemployment benefits

Posted February 19, 2009
Updated February 20, 2009

— The federal stimulus will give millions of dollars to help the state Employment Security Commission meet record demand during the recession, commissioners said Thursday.

The ESC's ability to pay benefits has been strained by the state's highest unemployment rate in 25 years – 8.7 percent in December, ESC Deputy Chairman David Clegg said.

"We need help on many levels, simply because we're dealing with an unprecedented capacity issue," Clegg said.

The stimulus plan will give $7 billion from the Federal Unemployment Account to help states pay for unemployment benefits. North Carolina expects to receive $205 million.

ESC commissioners said that North Carolina can also expect $14.6 million from the Unemployment Insurance Administration's State Grants Program and $10.9 million from the Employment Service and Re-employment Activity programs run by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Another portion of the federal stimulus plan will give unemployed workers an additional $25 a week. The ESC is working on a computer program to administer that benefit and, at the earliest, could begin distributing it in two weeks, Clegg said.

"It doesn't seem to help very much, but every little bit is better than nothing," said Paul Miranda, a laid-off worker.

The ESC pays out more than $25 million a day as nearly 400,000 North Carolinians seek unemployment benefits.

Last week, the agency borrowed $13 million from the federal government, the first time in seven years the state got a government loan to bolster its unemployment trust fund.

"We'll probably continue to do that, probably on a weekly basis," Clegg said.

Laid-off electrician Johnny Jensen said he can use every bit of help while he searches for a new job.

"To see that all your technical skills and with the profession you have, you've just been sent down the road so easily, it hurts," Jensen said. "I will try with every endeavor to find a solution to survive."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • dave2345 Feb 19, 2009

    mr.duright, it is people like you that helped us to get in the situation that we are in. Everyone in my company is legal and they take pride in being US citizens. I resent your comments as a highly decorated veteran and a proud business owner. Quit complaining and try to help.

  • mrduright Feb 19, 2009

    @7.50 per hour 40 hours a week 52 weeks a year equals 15,600 dollars who could live off that. I guess I could if I lived at home and was still in high school

  • mrduright Feb 19, 2009

    dave2345-what is the name of you company since you are hiring I know plenty of people looking for work. Or are you only hiring iligal immigrants and paying them slave wages???

  • dave2345 Feb 19, 2009

    By just working 30 hours a week it would allow ample time to search for a job. Libraries are open late, just working 3 days a week allows plenty of time for other things. I personally took a healthy pay cut and gave my people the chance to work 32 hours a week or I would have to lay off. Everyone voted to take the cut in hours rather than see their friends loose a job. I still maintain there benefits as they are all part of my family.

  • ThisIsMyName Feb 19, 2009

    Christine just resents having to work in Durham. The people of Durham are "below her level."

  • mrduright Feb 19, 2009

    christineswisher- You resent the poeple who pay to help you keep you job? So are you better that them you dont know other people curcomstances judge not ye be judged words to live by

  • mrduright Feb 19, 2009

    StefanyJoy- So what would you do if you lost that thankless job of yours since you are to good for unemployment I guess you would withdraw some trustfund money. But for the rest of us its the bridge between jobs

  • ThisIsMyName Feb 19, 2009

    Dave, you say in your profile you're a "working stiff" yet it sounds like you are over the HR Director in your organization.

  • christineswisher Feb 19, 2009

    Yes, that's exactly what this "stimulus" is for - GIVEAWAY for the lazy riff raff who don't want to work - I am out of my job and have been since last July and am currently working my behind off at a local grocery store making less than half of what I was making - and yes, it's really a low-paying nothing &*(* job, but I HAVE to do it to help support my family. I hate it, but am doing it, and seeing all these &*&((*&) coming in with food stamps and WIC vouchers and 15 babies on their backs and cell phones stuck to their ears really really chaps my hide. I resent it and it's no wonder people are PO'd!

  • mrduright Feb 19, 2009

    Let me say for all who dont understand wheather you own or rent a home if you are layed off and cant find a job to pay the house note you would be out on the street. As far as unempolyment is concerned the money comes out of the taxes payed so the less you earned the less unemployment you will get. It is patriotic to take care of your country first. We are doing the same thing in Iraq and yet you dont complain? And by-the-way dave2345 how exactly would you be able to look for a job while cutting grass t the YMCA