North Carolina has surpassed $3 billion in paid state and federal unemployment-insurance benefits as the state approaches the 1 million claimant mark.

The N.C. Division of Employment Security reported that as of Monday morning, $3.12 billion in state and federal UI benefits have been paid.

The overall unemployment benefits payment breakdown is: $1.68 billion from the federal pandemic unemployment-compensation package; $798 million in state benefits; $625.5 million in the federal pandemic unemployment-assistance package; and $14.9 million in pandemic-emergency unemployment compensation.

With the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund at close to $3.85 billion before the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic began to be felt, 20.7% of that money had been used as of Monday morning.

DES reported 980,952 claimants have filed a combined 1.38 million state and federal claims.

With the drop in the labor force over the month, currently 24.6% of the 3.99 million North Carolinians considered in the state’s workforce as of mid-April have filed a state or federal unemployment claim.

Some individuals have been required to file a second claim — after being determined to be ineligible for initial state benefits — in order to qualify for federal benefits that often include extended state benefits.

There were a combined 12,847 new claimants Saturday and Sunday. The daily filing peak was 34,706 on March 30.

DES said 654,287 claimants have received state and/or federal benefits, or about 67% of the state’s UI benefit claimants.

By comparison, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that nationally 47.3% of claimants had been paid as of April 30.

DES provided for the first time Thursday the number of UI claimants per county for April.

Forsyth was listed with 19,984 new and 21,256 continuing claimants for April, the latter defined as claims that began in March and carried into April. There were 64,550 continuing cases as of April 30.

By comparison, Guilford had 33,507 new and 34,136 continuing claimants. There were 104,421 continuing cases as of April 30.

For the 14-county Triad and Northwest N.C., there were 88,768 new claimants and 108,844 claimants in April. There were 309,188 continuing cases as of April 30.

The U.S. Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration said Thursday the seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate was 14.5% for the week that ended May 16, down from 17.2% for the week that ended May 9.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported May 8 that the U.S. unemployment rate climbed from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April. It’s the largest month-over-month increase since the bureau began compiling seasonally adjusted U.S. jobless reports in January 1948.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate nearly tripled from 4.3% in March to 12.2% in April, a stark reflection of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the state’s economy.

The April regional and county jobless reports will be released Wednesday. The reports will reflect only 16 days of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order implementing stay-at-home restrictions that began March 27.

Economists project the state’s May jobless rate will be significantly higher, because U.S. Labor collects employment data during the week that contains the 12th of the month. The April report covers the churn from March 14 to April 12.

Individuals without jobs and not actively looking for work are unaccounted for in the labor force.



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