Press Release

Lone Democrat on Unemployment Insurance Committee, Wiley Nickel Addresses North Carolina’s 51st Ranking in Unemployment Benefits

Office of Senator Wiley Nickel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25th, 2020

Senator Nickel stands up for workers and asks for rollback on draconian cuts to North Carolina’s unemployment benefits.

RALEIGH, NC – In 2013, the state faced a $2.5 billion dollar bill to the federal government for its Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. In response, the legislature permanently slashed benefits for out-of-work North Carolinians by cutting the dollar amount, duration, and eligibility for those making claims. North Carolina now ranks last or near last in the country for every measurement of unemployment benefits.

Senator Nickel said  “It’s time to reevaluate how our unemployment insurance is calculated. We should raise the dollar amount and duration for unemployment benefits to ensure that our citizens can stay afloat if a factory closes or we experience another economic downturn.”

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance will meet this morning.  Senator Nickel was the only Democrat appointed to the Committee. He joins seven Republicans on this committee.

North Carolina provides only $264.70 each week on average and a maximum of $350 to its unemployed workers. This is replacing just 32 cents for every $1 in lost income, which is far fewer than economists’ recommended rate of 50%. This dropped North Carolina to 51st in the United States in terms of average weekly benefits.

Senator Nickel said, “Nearly every other state in the country treats their laid-off workers with more respect and compassion than North Carolina. It’s time we change that.  We can make needed changes to the system to restore the benefits that were slashed in 2013.”