NC unemployment rate bumps up to 11%

Reported by Casey Roman - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - North Carolina's unemployment rate is up 11%, which is above the national average.  This is the ninth straight month the state's unemployment rate has reached double digits.

Several people were at Wilmington's State Employment Office Friday, looking for help finding a job.

Hope may be on the horizon for anyone whose employment benefits have expired or are about to expire, but that hope won't materialize until after the holidays.

A new law will extend unemployment benefits nationwide.  This is now the third extension, which is good news for those who have run out.

Those who qualify will receive a letter in the mail in the next few weeks, but it could take as long as six weeks for a check to arrive.

If you are qualified, you will receive a lump sum retroactive payment to the week ending November 14th.  According to the state, 71,800 people in North Carolina have exhausted their tier 2 benefits.

The unemployment office says its hardest for people don't have a license, have child support issues or less education to qualifiy. That's because more people who have very high qualifications are now unemployed and are qualifying for the jobs first.

The details of the extension are still a little unclear.  Employment officials say it's causing a lot of confusion and anxiety for those who depend on that money.

"The difference between the office and them is we scratch our head and wish we had it - they go home and they've got their bills and their debt," said Employment Security Commission Dan Peninger.  "So we understand that its much more important to them and we try to convey that to them and we want them to know that everything in the world is being done and we appreciate how devastating waiting is but it's a fact of life."

For some, the waiting game is one they're tired of playing.  Heather Bacheller says getting unemployment is hard, but getting off it seems to be even harder.

"You're living by the seat of your pants most of the time," said Bacheller.

She has ridden to the unemployment office more than she'd like to admit, but said she does what she has to do.  To lock in her unemployment pay, she's been going to the office for almost a year, standing in line, and making her case to keep her check coming.

While employment officials wait for final policies about the law to figure out who qualifies, workers are trying to figure out the system.

If you don't receive your letter, of if you have any questions about your qualification, call the Employment Security Commission call, (910) 251-5777.

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