There is a lot more that North Carolina policymakers could be doing to ensure that the state’s jobless workers get back to work. Despite the improving economy there remain too few people employed across the country and in North Carolina relative to pre-recession levels. And the changing nature of work characterized most clearly by the lack of a formal employee-employer relationship but also by lower-wages and fewer employers provided benefits is requiring systems to better align and address these conditions.
A new report released by NELP identifies the need for a state-level response in the face of this challenging labor market that is both recovering from the harm of the Great Recession and being transformed into a more precarious and less secure future for work. The strategies outlined in the report, based on the best available evidence of effectiveness, would not only seek to prevent long-term unemployment—a condition that researchers point to as increasingly likely—but also provide greater help for long-term unemployed jobseekers while ensuring a sound unemployment insurance infrastructure.
Here are some the recommendations that are particularly relevant for North Carolina:
- Prioritize funding for comprehensive reemployment services to offset declining federal commitment
- Eliminate arbitrary temporary worker disqualifications
- Broaden good-cause rules for workers who voluntarily quit their jobs (or in the case of NC reinstate them)
- Establish subsidized work programs for long-term jobless workers, including unemployment insurance exhuastees
- Provide 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to jobless workers
- Provide up to 26 weeks of additional unemployment benefits for jobless workers receiving training
- Adopt responsible financing measures for unemployment insurance to ensure preparation for the next recession like ensuring that the reserve is at a level that is based on historical experience of benefits paid out
- Dedicate greater resources to state unemployment insurance program administration
To read more about these strategies and others, be sure to check out the full report from NELP. To be sure North Carolina has a long way to go before claiming their efforts have positioned the state for success in addressing the issues of long-term unemployment and prepare for the future of work in our state and the nation.