NC unemployment claims continue unabated

Posted March 27, 2020 11:34 a.m. EDT
Updated March 27, 2020 12:41 p.m. EDT

NC Division of Employment Security website

— North Carolina has averaged nearly 20,000 new unemployment claims a day since the new coronavirus blew a hole in the state's economy.

The figure is unprecedented.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, the state Division of Employment Security said it had processed 219,286 claims since March 16, including 25,643 on Thursday.

New unemployment claims in NC

On March 18, the N.C. Division of Employment Security began sporadically releasing details on the number of cumulative unemployment claims filed since March 16, most of them triggered by layoffs related to the novel coronavirus. See how those numbers compare to cumulative new claims filed during a similar time period in 2019 and the 2009 recession, acccording to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, through July 6, 2020, the last date WRAL collected the data.

Source: N.C. DES, U.S. Department of Labor
Graphic: Tyler Dukes, WRAL

The system is seeing more new claims, each day, than it saw on average in a week during the recession years of 2007 through 2010.

People continue to report great difficulty calling into the system, telling WRAL News they get a message saying the system has high call volume and to call back later. Some are reporting problems filing online as well.

Spokespeople for the division say the system is working, but it's simply straining from the volume.

There is a 10-day lag time between filing and a claim being finalized because employers are given time to confirm someone has been laid off. Employees released due to COVID-19 shutdowns are asked to select "coronavirus" as the reason for their separation.

The division's assistant secretary has said checks should go out about two weeks after someone files.

Once filed, people have to file weekly certifications to keep getting checks. The state has waived a requirement that people look for work to remain eligible. Those filing due to COVID-19 may simply select "yes" to answer the weekly certification question "Did you look for work."

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