Day 40: Number of unemployed without benefits goes up, again

The number of people being affected by a standoff in the state legislature over unemployment benefits has ticked upwards again, now at 43,000 and 46,000 people.

The new estimate was released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission. Today marks the 40th day since April 16, when the benefits stopped for an estimated 37,000 people.

The ESC believes an additional 2,100 people each week are exhausting their existing benefits, and would have moved into the extended benefits if the legislature had approved the formula that lets federal funds flow through to workers.

This week’s estimate shows a slightly slower growth of pace for the affected.

A new bill was introduced as a compromise by Republicans yesterday that agreed to restore the federally-funded unemployment benefits for thousands if Gov. Bev Perdue would agree to a temporary budget with deep cuts. (For a recap on yesterday’s bill, check out this story from WRAL.) Perdue vetoed a similar bill, and indicated yesterday she’d veto this one too and urged GOP leaders in the legislature to send her a clean bill.

The only other hopes for restoring benefits are if enough Republicans join Democrats in the state legislature to pass a stand-alone bill, or if a new state budget is passed that would also restore the benefits on July 1.

Here’s the full text of Perdue’s written statement released last night:

For weeks, 42,000 unemployed North Carolinians have waited for the legislature to show leadership by passing legislation that will restore their federal unemployment benefits.  Instead the legislature has refused to do the right thing and played politics by passing a bill that ties unemployment benefits to the legislature’s budget games.  And here they go again by introducing HB 439 that would tie unemployment benefits to a budget bill that would cut public education by more than $1 billion.  If this bill were to become law in its current form, thousands of teachers, teaching assistants and students would be held hostage by the legislature’s political games.  On behalf of the 42,000 unemployed North Carolinians who have been denied benefits, I call on the General Assembly to act and pass a bill that solely addresses these federally funded unemployment benefits.


  1. kadenn

    May 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    This is simply disgraceful. How can the people of the legislature, even say they support the people, and watch people lose their homes, go without food, lights, medical care, all to play a political game. It makes me realize I need to really look deeper at the people I vote for in 2012. What happened to the morals and values they all claim to have doing election time. This is not a game, people of this state is suffering. Please resolve this issue.

  2. UCubed

    May 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    the true unemployment rate is a lot higher than the ESC says it is.

  3. M

    May 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I agree we have to cut the budget of NC, Having been unemployed for more than a year and having my husband become unemployed five and a half months ago and having not found employment or even hope of employment I can understand all sides of this mess. I need those benefits to continue my search for employment and to keep from failing. The benefits are no added cost to NC citizens since they are federal stimulus money that will be used by someone somewhere. Why not the citizens of NC? The money will keep unemployed off the welfare rolls, help control foreclosures which devalue property, lower the chance of repossions and bankruptcies, and through taxes and consumer spending, stimulate the economy while not raising taxes. I am disappointed Republican legislators felt the need to flex their muscles at the expense of the long-term unemployed and citizens of NC. They knew the governor would veto their initial bill as she had 4 other bills and they knew they did not have the votes to over-ride the veto. It was all about posturing. The % of budget cuts was too high for a blind signature. I am disappointed it has taken both sides so long to come up with a compromise which I think is good. I am disappointed the governor won’t see that we can’t keep spending money we don’t have. Cuts have to be made somewhere. They will be painful but not permanent. What happened to sacrifice for the sake of a solvent government? My husband and I have had to make decisions that have been painful to us since we have had a reduced income. Government workers, including teachers and school system employees, can come up with ways to cut the budget that do not affect employment or the education of children. There is always unnecessary spending going on in business, education and government. We must pray our sacrifices will not be permanent, because we pray for recovery of the economy. I am also disappointed state workers are unwilling to pay between $11 and $23 a month as partial responsibility for insurance premiums. Those employed in the private sector have already had their insurance benefits cut. State employees are paid salaries and benefits by the government through the taxes of all citizens including and especially those working in the private sector. Those in the private sector have had decreased salaries and benefits, thus the decrease in tax revenue for the state. An increase in taxes would put those citizens at a greater disadvantage. It would be proper for them to ask state employees “You want me to have less net income so you can have more?” There is a disparity here. And lastly. I am disappointed in the attitude of all who serve as leaders of NC and the US for not using common sense and for favoring special interest groups with their politics. The common good of the majority is what they should be considering. I believe extended unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed is good for the majority in the state of NC and it crosses party lines. I implore the lefislature and the governor to resolve the matter of unemployment benefits for long term unemployed immedicately, making the benefits retro-active for those who qualify.

  4. Ennic

    May 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm


  5. H

    May 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I am a Republican, have been affected by this cutoff and am ashamed of this mess. I would really like the Republican leadership in the senate to cite one, just one instance, of another state’s legislature tying unemployment benefits to other unrelated issues, or any other issues for that matter. No precendent exists.

    And, these are federal funds so it has nothing to do with “passing the NC budget” the Republicans would like to see passed.

    I feel as if I’m watching a bunch of children in a schoolyard argue and refuse to compromise. They can go home each night to their families and plan beach vacations, while they fail to act and make decisions that affect people’s ability to pay rent and afford health care. I read about one man who was having a heart attack and delayed going to the ER because he did not have the money to pay the bill – he had just been cut off unemployment via this mess. That is unconscionable.

    I am sick and tired of children and families being affected by this while the senate spends their days hearing bills on sidewalk usage and other issues that are far less important. Vote ALL of them out – democrat and republican – if they continue to do this to your neighbors, families and friends. I’m so sick of both sides it’s not funny. No checks and balances.

  6. Jim

    May 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. I’m from the Old school
    I take names and address
    And make your family go through what mines go through.
    Nothing personal, just business. I’m not from nc so I could care less bout half the shit they crying about in the budget.
    I may b from Arizona. If I have to be.

  7. Jim

    May 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Let’s play games. Catch u in hickory on ya way up to ashville
    Heck. Catch u jogging anywhere and I will make a move

  8. Debbie

    May 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    I agree with Bev Perdue. WE CAN NOT CUT SCOOL BUDGETS!!! The senate should be ashamed for trying to connect the two issuel. Our kids need a education! I will NOT help re-elect anyone associated with hurting our kids or those of us unemployed

  9. Jim

    May 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Kids won’t need school if they homeless and working for food with their parents off a highway. And speaking of highways, why do y’all fix every road in nc but swear y’all broke and can’t pay teachers????????
    Y’all so backwards down here

  10. […] post: Day 40: Number of unemployed without benefits goes up, again « The … Related Reading: Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being WrongA New York Times […]

  11. Greg

    May 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm


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