MEDIA RELEASE: Study: Unemployment Insurance benefits crucial to jobless during recession

MEDIA RELEASE: Study: Unemployment Insurance benefits crucial to jobless during recession
Lack of jobs has driven unemployment to highest level of past four recessions

RALEIGH (May 31, 2011) – Unemployment Insurance benefits for unemployed workers are more critical than ever during a time when unemployment in North Carolina is at its highest level of the past four recessions, new research from the Budget and Tax Center finds.

The unemployment insurance program plays an important role in North Carolina’s economic recovery, the study reveals, particularly when job recovery in North Carolina moves at a slow pace. The benefits program supports individuals as they hunt for work, the study finds, and helps maintain a level of consumer spending that can support business growth.

North Carolina currently faces a shortfall of more than 460,000 jobs as of April 2011, the study finds. On top of that number, 37,000 unemployed workers lost their extended benefits last month due to the state government’s failure to adjust the formula that triggers on and off the extended benefit program.

According to the study, the Employment Security Commission estimates that 2,100 workers will be added to that number with each passing week.

“During periods of high unemployment, as North Carolina has experienced, unemployment insurance is critical to supporting workers who have lost jobs through no fault of their own and their families,” says Alexandra Forter Sirota, Director of the Budget and Tax Center and author of the study. “The significant loss of jobs over the Great Recession in every North Carolina community has made it more difficult for workers seeking employment, and more critical that these families can access extended to minimize the negative impact of joblessness to families and the broader economy.”

For more information, contact: Alexandra Forter Sirota,, (919) 861-1468; or (919) 801-0465;; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center,, (919) 863-2402 (office) (503) 551.3615 (mobile).