Local News

Nearly 5,000 in N.C. will lose unemployment benefits

Posted June 5, 2009 1:29 p.m. EDT
Updated June 5, 2009 5:03 p.m. EDT

— Nearly 5,000 unemployed workers will lose their benefits this month, and that number will likely increase as the year goes on.

David Clegg, deputy chairman of the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, said Friday that by mid-June, 4,936 people will have maxed out their benefits. State law and the federal stimulus act allow for 79 weeks of coverage.

"Your first cohort of those individuals who in large numbers are going to come to the end of that period is going to start occurring now and will increase in number over the next 120 days," Clegg said.

By October, the number of people no longer eligible for unemployment could be as high as 375,000. The ESC, however, said that estimate is based on a a worst-case scenario of no one being able to find work.

"We hope that a recession is going to not outlast their benefits if they're actively seeking work," Clegg said.

According to numbers last month by the ESC, the state unemployment rate is at 10.8 percent, 1.4 percent higher than the national average.

National numbers released Friday show that the U.S. unemployment rate reached 9.4 percent in May, the highest in more than 25 years.

New state numbers will be released in two weeks, and Clegg said he expects that number to be higher than last month, partly because of an influx of college graduates.