Local News

N.C. Congressmen To Ask Colleagues To Extend State's Unemployment Benefits

Posted May 19, 2003 11:49 a.m. EDT

— Two of North Carolina's congressional leaders are pushing for a new round of unemployment benefits. Benefits will stop at the end of the month for thousands of the state's umemployed if the change does not go through.

Beatrice Willis worked with a construction company at Research Triangle Park until January when she was laid off. She said she would be in dire straits if the benefits are not extended.

"I was once a very productive citizen and earning enough money to pay all my own bills. I'm now being forced into a situation where I can decide which bills I want to pay," she said.

Congressmen David Price and Brad Miller came to the

Employment Security Commission

in Raleigh to make the case for people like Willis. They say the unemployed people they want to help are not using the money as a paid vacation as some might think, but they are working hard to get a new job with no luck.

Officials say North Carolina has seen a loss of 128,000 jobs since January 2001. Right now, unemployment is hovering around six percent.