State News

State may need to borrow money for jobless benefits

Posted February 3, 2009

Growing numbers of N.C. residents are searching for work and collecting unemployment benefits at Employment Security Commission offices.

— North Carolina has paid out so much in unemployment benefits that it may have to borrow from the federal government as early as next week to keep checks flowing, an official said.

David Clegg, deputy chairman of the state Employment Security Commission, said the unemployment insurance fund had dropped to little more than $16 million Monday because a growing number of people can't find jobs.

North Carolina has nearly 400,000 unemployed workers. The jobless rate was 8.7 percent in December, the highest since June 1983.

The value of the ESC's unemployment insurance fund varies daily, based on payments coming in from companies and benefits paid out to jobless workers, agency spokesman Larry Parker said. That makes it difficult to calculate when any borrowing would be needed, he said.

North Carolina has a $540 million credit line with the federal government. The state would have until October to repay the money without paying interest.

"We're making the same type of decisions that any large corporation on this planet makes," Clegg said. "You just have to make these decisions. This is not a time to get squeamish. You just forge ahead."

The state paid $160 million in unemployment benefits in December.

Clegg says that not only are more people without jobs, but it's taking them longer to find work.

State officials are processing $100 million in quarterly unemployment tax payments from about 200,000 businesses that will be used to pay benefits. Clegg said the state still may need to borrow from the federal credit line, however.

North Carolina last tapped the credit line in 2002.

If the state can't repay the loan by fall, it would issue special tax anticipation notes to borrow money. Clegg said the state also will get more tax payments in April and July, noting that April usually is the largest.

Federal economic stimulus payments also may help the unemployment fund, he said

"I think they're going to enhance unemployment insurance benefits because it's the fastest way to get money into the economy," Clegg said.

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  • Pseudonym Feb 3, 2009

    Jurydoc,

    Here's how budgeting works:

    When you own ABC Grocery and you want to hire someone, you must look at your budget and figure out the following:
    -How much will I have to pay for unemployment insurance?
    -How much will my 7.5% "matching" contribution to Social
    (In)Security be?

    These things come out of the budget for your job, so in effect, yes, you are paying those "hidden" taxes that your employer "matches" or "pays."

  • celong Feb 3, 2009

    how many do you know that get the benefit and work for cash on the side?? Corruption from the top to the bottom is what has caused our financial woes.

  • earlybird17 Feb 3, 2009

    Sadly, sometimes unemployment pays more than you would get working at a convenience store. Taking a job that is "beneath" them is not always the issue. If I can get $10/hr. from my unemployment benefits, why would I take a job paying $8/hr.? That makes no sense to me - I'd actually be worse off earning $8/hr. I don't mind working but let's be realistic about it.

  • kggg21 Feb 3, 2009

    Amen beachboater....you hit the nail on the head.

  • ThisIsMyName Feb 3, 2009

    It's sad when people blame the "illegals" when it's our own fault (ourselves and our local business owners) who created this problem. It's only a crutch a lot of sorry American's use to justify their ignorance and laziness.

  • Pineview Style Feb 3, 2009

    Smithfields on 401 is hiring....

  • scarletindurham Feb 3, 2009

    People, look on craigslist. There are a million jobs out there waiting to be filled. Everytime I go to a gas station there is a "Help Wanted" sign in the window. Honestly I just don't understand why people would rather be unemployed than work a job that is "beneath" them. If it meant feeding my child I would lick a State fraternity bathroom clean.

  • beachboater Feb 3, 2009

    "If the republicans wouldn't accept these handouts, there would be enough money.: ThisIsMyName

    Sir or madam, you obviously don't have a clue about anything.

    The illegals used to do work that "legals" didn't want to do. Now they are getting the better wages (I'm hearing $9+ per hour) and getting the better jobs.

    One reason employers are using the illegals is because they work hard. It seems that "legal" citizens, particularly the young one are part of the entitlement age. Give me a check, but don't expect much in return.

    I'm all for deporting the illegals, but legal citizens need an attitude adjustment.

  • gordonbabe Feb 3, 2009

    AMEN & AMEN across the board... and wonder where the money for all the county "programs" is going to come from to cover the illegals for their continued medical and food...?

    Of course, if we ban together to stop people from hiring illegals (and considering the VAST majority of illegals are hispanics)... they'd probably sue us for racial profiling!!

    DON'T HIRE ILLEGALS and DON'T BUY FROM ANYONE THAT DOES!

  • Weaker Pelosi Feb 3, 2009

    Can only imagine how bad it will be by the end of the year and early into 2010 with all the layoffs. Very scary times we are in. I feel very fortunate to have a job and thank God every time I walk through the door.

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