STATEMENT: Signing of unemployment bill "a sad day" for North Carolina

Hundreds of thousands will be harmed by today’s signing of a radical bill to restructure the state’s unemployment insurance system


RALEIGH (Feb. 19, 2013)  — This is a sad day for North Carolina. Advocates for working families in North Carolina are uniformly disappointed with today’s signing of the unemployment bill. Hundreds of thousands of jobless workers thrown out of work through no fault of their own will face deepening poverty as a result of this decision.

Everyone in North Carolina should be disappointed in both the substance of this bill and the manner in which it was passed.

A radical, out of the mainstream restructuring of a crucial support system was rushed through in two weeks. No input from workers’ groups was allowed during the process. The people most directly affected were given no voice.

What the bill does is even worse than the way it was passed. No state has ever cut unemployment benefits this sharply, this quickly. No state has ever turned down hundreds of millions in federal benefits the way this bill does. North Carolina’s legislature and Governor chose to permanently cut benefits, reduce employers' contributions over time, and reject $700 million in federal extended benefits.

Beginning July 1, this will hurt 170,000 long-term unemployed people and their families — all during a time of high unemployment and three unemployed workers for every available job. Over the long term, it will hurt hundreds of thousands more. Morally and economically, it is a shameful and shortsighted decision.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jeff Shaw, director of communications,, 503.551.3615.