07.06.2010 In the News, Policy Points

Long-Term Unemployment in North Carolina

A recent article in The Winston-Salem Journal reported on the growing problem of long-term unemployment and how Congress’ inability to extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits is harming North Carolinians.

Reports the Journal:

More than 62,300 North Carolinians have exhausted their jobless benefits since June 2, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

Up to another 20,000 will fall into that category each week through the end of July unless Congress votes to provide additional benefits through Nov. 30.

The article also featured South by North Strategies’ perspective on the importance of emergency benefits:

‘Paying unemployment benefits is a direct economic stimulus because the benefits are spent quickly and typically close to home,’ said John Quinterno, a principal at South by North Strategies Ltd., a research company in Chapel Hill that focuses on economic and social policy.

And as one individual who has exhausted his benefits explained:

‘In some cases, the odds are just stacked against the unemployed,’ said Stephen Crockett, who has been jobless since August 2008.

Despite 34 years of primarily manufacturing and construction experience in the Elkin and Winston-Salem areas, Crockett, 50, said he has not been able to land work even though searching has become his full-time vocation.

His benefits ran out June 14 after 99 weeks — 26 weeks of state, 53 weeks of federal and 20 weeks of combined state and federal assistance.

‘I don’t know how I’ll live once my benefits run dry, but I can see myself as homeless, hungry and without car insurance by mid-July if another extension is not granted,’ Crockett said.

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