Benefits set to expire for 18,000 long-term unemployed in N.C.

Dip in unemployment rate triggers end April 24, 2012 

About 18,000 long-term unemployed people in the state are expected to lose their unemployment benefits early next month as a result of North Carolina’s declining unemployment rate.

Larry Parker, a spokesman for the state’s Division of Employment Security, said the state expects to receive official notice from the U.S. Department of Labor in the coming days.

“It will be sometime in early May,” he said. “Usually when we get that notice it’s a two- to three-week timeframe that they (unemployed workers) have left.”

The roughly 18,000 who are currently receiving benefits from the program are people who have exhausted the 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits and have been receiving extended federal benefits.

“These are long-term folks who are in the last available program to them,” Parker said.

Some may have been receiving unemployment benefits for more than 70 weeks.

Parker said once the state receives official notice from the Department of Labor, his agency will begin notifying people who receive benefits from the program.

Eligibility for the extended-benefits program is determined by a formula based in part on a state’s unemployment rate.

North Carolina’s jobless rate dropped to 9.7 percent in March. While that exceeds the national average, it’s the lowest rate in North Carolina in three years.

“We just feel like with the improving economy and our unemployment rate getting a little bit lower – because the formula is a function of that – that we are very close to it,” Parker said.

Bracken: 919-829-4548

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