North Carolina battles unemployment bottleneck
Tuesday, state leaders outlined what they're doing to get more help to people who've lost jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak.Posted — Updated
Monday, another 21,000 new claims were filed with the Division of Employment Security. That brings the total number of initial claims filed since coronavirus layoffs began to over 445,000. 76% of those claimants listed COVID-19 as the reason they're unemployed.
"I couldn't get through and it was just like a wait and wait and wait," says laid-off Durham restaurant worker Laura Wheeler.
Wheeler, who described the entire filing process as "very difficult," eventually got help thanks to her ability to speak Spanish. Wheeler said she received a call back after leaving a message on the state's Spanish unemployment hotline, "and she helped me out, and I was very thankful."
"This is a frustration that is being faced in every single state in the country.," said Gov. Roy Cooper, D-North Carolina, at a briefing Tuesday, "and there is a strong realization that everybody needs to pick up the pace as much as possible to deal with this overwhelming crush of claims. "
On today's Council of State conference call, State Auditor Beth Wood said her office was wrapping up work on three pending audits. Once those are completed, Wood said her staff of some 350 people could help out by answering coronavirus hotlines or even unemployment calls.
"If there's any way that you can use my very talented and educated staff, I'm offering all of us, myself included," said Wood.
We also learned more today about some questions filers have told us they can't get answers to.
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