Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Division of Employment Security is in the headlines again, but this time it is making changes for the better.
Over the past five years, the agency has faced numerous problems, including late benefit payments, $28 million in overpayments and a $147 million mistake when the division used state funds instead of federal funds to pay claims.
WRAL Investigates reported in May on poor performance reviews dating back decades. The labor department has performed 120 quality checks on North Carolina’s unemployment agency since 1997. Of those, the agency has passed twice. The most recent report card, through Dec. 31, 2011, shows North Carolina failed on 5 of 11 measures of unemployment insurance quality.
Larry Parker, spokesman for the agency, told WRAL Investigates in May that changes were coming. On Friday, he said, "Our focus is improve those numbers and our recent staffing changes should assist not only in the quality of work but in the timeliness as well."
Among several high-level executives who retired last month was David Canady, who led the Unemployment Insurance division at DES since 1997.
The division is adding staff, too. The stubbornly steady jobless rate in North Carolina means more clients for DES. About a dozen workers are expected to be added to handle unemployment cases.