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“Employment crisis is as real as COVID-19”: State treasurer asks Gov. Cooper not to extend extra unemployment benefits

NC Treasurer Dale Folwell asks Gov. Cooper not to extend extra unemployment benefits
NC Treasurer Dale Folwell asks Gov. Cooper not to extend extra unemployment benefits
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 1:59 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - State Treasurer Dale Folwell believes extra unemployment benefits are contributing to the employment crisis in North Carolina, therefore, he’s asking Gov. Roy Cooper to keep his word on a pledge he made last month.

During the August meeting of the North Carolina Council of State (COS), Gov. Cooper indicated that he will not support providing additional extended unemployment benefits when they expire Sept. 6, according to Folwell’s office. The pandemic emergency employment compensation and pandemic unemployment assistance programs provide an additional $300 a week to eligible unemployment applicants.

“I’m asking the governor to follow through on his pledge not to extend unemployment benefits,” Treasurer Folwell said. “We’re in an employment crisis. Businesses are struggling to find workers, forcing them to cut back on their hours and even having to close on some days. The policy is no longer about compassion, but the practical realities of the needs of businesses. The jobs are there. At the end of the day, employers across the state cannot operate without employees. And the state itself is the largest employer.”

The hospitality industry is especially struggling. Some restaurants have even offered incentives to attract more workers.

Use of the monies from the CARES Act Fund has come under fire. An audit in May revealed that North Carolina failed to ensure $3.1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds were being properly spent.

“Whatever the source of funding, letting these extended benefits expire is the best thing we could do to help employers get reopened,” said Treasurer Folwell. “I get calls every day from small businesses saying they can’t get people to work because it’s more profitable for them to stay home. They can’t compete against the federal government. And the workers that show up are paying taxes so the others can stay home.”

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