FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 17th, 2020
Senator Wiley Nickel Applauds Governor Cooper’s Executive Order to Expand Unemployment Benefits to help North Carolina Workers affected by COVID-19
RALEIGH, NC – Senator Wiley Nickel applauded the bold, decisive action by Governor Roy Cooper in defending North Carolinians’ health and financial security during the coronavirus pandemic. While COVID-19 has shaken our state’s economy, Governor Cooper’s decision to expand unemployment benefits to workers affected by COVID-19 shows true leadership. Senator Nickel is the only Democrat appointed to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance.
“I applaud Governor Cooper’s Executive Order to expand Unemployment Benefits to help North Carolina workers affected by the coronavirus. His actions will allow thousands of North Carolinians to stay afloat by increasing benefits, removing barriers and allowing those who lose their job because of the coronavirus to apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits.”
North Carolina currently has over $4 Billion in our Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and can afford to increase benefits and allow a much larger pool of unemployed workers to access Unemployment Insurance benefits.
Senator Nickel Said “North Carolina has the worst unemployment benefits in the country. Before Governor Cooper’s Executive order less than 10% of unemployed workers received benefits. We also have more money available in our Trust Fund than just about any other state. Economists agree that Unemployment Insurance is one of the most important ways to keep our economy moving during the coronavirus pandemic. The Legislature needs to return and make even more changes to increase benefits and allow more unemployed workers to have access to the system.” The numbers below tell the tale:
#51 – North Carolina ranks LAST in average benefits paid to those who qualify for unemployment insurance. With an average of just $264 per week and 8.6 weeks of benefits the average worker only gets $2,220.
#50 – Less than 10% of unemployed workers receive benefits. North Carolina makes it incredibly difficult to get benefits and ranks next to last in the percentage of unemployed workers who receive benefits.
#5 – North Carolina has OVER $4 Billion sitting in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. With well over double the USDOL reserve ratio we have billions of dollars that should be made available to help unemployed workers immediately.