NC unemployment claims hit nearly 200K


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina saw the number of unemployment claims jump by nearly 30,000 from Wednesday to Thursday.

The total number of unemployment claims from March 16 to Thursday at 8 a.m. sits at 195,661, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Approximately 88 percent of those claims are related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commerce department reported 153,919 claims on Wednesday.

North Carolina’s numbers echo what is happening across the country.

Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982 — amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

As job losses mount, some economists say the nation’s unemployment rate could approach 13 percent by May.

By comparison, the highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10 percent.

On March 17, Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order 118 which expanded unemployment benefits.

Those changes include:

  • No one-week waiting period
  • Removes the requirement to look for another job
  • Allows employees whose hours have cut to apply for unemployment
  • Allows citizens to apply for benefits remotely
  • Employers will not be held responsible for claims during outbreak

COVID-19 timeline

  • March 3: NCDHHS announces state’s first COVID-19 case
  • March 10: Gov. Roy Cooper declares State of Emergency
  • March 11: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
  • March 13: President Donald Trump declares a National Emergency
  • March 14: Cooper issues Executive Order 117 closing K-12 public schools until at least March 30 and banning gatherings of more than 100 people
  • March 16: NCDHHS recommends no mass gatherings for more than 50 people
  • March 17: Cooper issues Executive Order 118 limiting operations of restaurants and bars, and broadening unemployment insurance benefits
  • March 23: Cooper issues Executive Order 120 which closes public K-12 schools through May 15 and orders businesses such as barbershops and salons to close.
  • March 25: North Carolina reports its first coronavirus-related deaths
  • March 29: Trump extends social distancing orders through the end of April
  • March 31: Cooper signs Executive Order 124 which prohibits utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during the pandemic.
  • April 7: Cooper will sign executive orders limiting customers in retailers and offers child care assistance to certain workers
  • April 14: Coronavirus-related deaths top 100 in North Carolina
  • April 24: Cooper extends stay-at-home order to May 8
  • May 5: Cooper announces Phase One of reopening will being May 8

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