The state unemployment rate went up to 9.2 percent in December, according to a release this morning from the N.C. Department of Commerce.
It was an increase of 0.1 percent from a month prior.
The state is still up from the national rate of 7.8 percent but is far better off than it was last year. In December 2011, unemployment was 10.4 percent.
(All numbers are seasonably adjusted.)
This comes as the state legislature gets ready to make significant changes to the state’s unemployment insurance program, in order to pay back $2.5 billion the state borrowed from the federal government in the height of the recession.
The proposal on the table would primarily change how jobless workers are affected, by scaling back the number of weeks an unemployed worker could collect benefits form 26 to 12 or 20 weeks (depending on the economy), and cut the maximum weekly amount from $535 to $350. (More here in this WRAL story.)
Businesses would see a slight increase in what they pay.
Worker advocates, including the Policy Watch’s parent organization, the N.C. Justice Center, have said the current proposal would leave vulnerable middle and low-income families without the needed safety nets after a sudden job less, with the business community not paying enough of their share.
Meanwhile, the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, which worked closely with legislators to develop the proposed plan, have described the proposal as balanced, with all sides feeling some pain to right the system. (Click here to read a chamber news release on the issue.)
Legislators are expected to take up the issue later on in the session.