Local News

Advisory Committee Calls On General Assembly To Help Unemployment

Posted April 26, 2005 6:57 a.m. EDT

— An advisory committee reports 2005 is shaping up to be a very painful year for unemployment in North Carolina.

Just in the month of April, 925 jobs were lost or relocated with the Black & Decker shutdown in Fayetteville. Approximately 130 jobs were cut at Guilford Mills in Fuquay-Varina.

At the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, leaders outlined 10 recommendations to help workers who have lost their jobs.

One recommendation calls on Congress to provide better federal assistance. Another recommendation takes aim at the N.C. General Assembly.

The Dislocated Worker Advisory Committee wants state lawmakers to replenish the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which has been drained in the past four years. "When we had to pay unemployment insurance, and ran out of money in our fund, we had to use up everything in our reserve fund and we could no longer fund some of the key programs in workforce development," N.C. Rural Center representative Anne Scharff Bacon said.

Even lawmakers who want to build up the fund say it may be tough to do this year.

"It all depends on what kind of revenue we end up with." Rep. Joe Tolson, D-Edgecombe County, said. "If we don't get additional revenue and face the cuts that we are looking at now, I doubt that we'll be able to do anything with that."

The advisory committee is not placing the entire burden on the N.C. General Assembly. The group is also calling on state agencies, community colleges and nonprofit agencies to help minimize the impact of the job losses.

In the last four years, more than 200,000 people in North Carolina have lost their jobs due to layoffs or shutdowns. Another 35,000 textile and apparel jobs are expected to leave the state in the next seven years.