A weekly report issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor says 73,597 North Carolina workers should receive unemployment insurance benefits for the week ending March 21.
How many payments are going out? Neither Gov. Roy Cooper nor officials with the Division of Employment Security will say. Cooper said Sunday benefit payments would go out this week. Carolina Journal asked DES again Thursday for a count but received no response.
The 73,597 count for March 21 represents continued claims, also called insured unemployment. It’s more than three times the 20,652 continued claims reported to USDOL the previous week. It signaled the initial onslaught of unemployment insurance claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic. DES provides the claims numbers to the federal Labor Department.
The surge continues. DES reported Thursday morning it received 353,480 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits from March 16 – April 1. During the Great Recession a decade ago, DES processed 25,000 claims a month.
DES is struggling with the workload, Cooper said Sunday. “Thousands of workers have lost jobs, but their bills don’t stop. My administration is working overtime to get unemployment checks out now. We’ll keep pushing every day for more state and federal help to save our workers and their families.”