North Carolina initial jobless claims continue to sink | Local
New jobless claims in the states of North Carolina continued their recent decline last week, this time to 2,365, the US Department of Labor reported Thursday.
Claims were down from a revised 2,616 for the week ending March 12.
The pandemic low was 1,848 claims for the week ending January 1.
The state was 19th in the nation for the number of jobless claims, up one from last week.
With no COVID-19 pandemic unemployment insurance programs available to North Carolinians since September 4, total claims represent regular new claims for state unemployment benefits.
The US Labor Party listed 12,937 North Carolina residents receiving regular state benefits as of March 12, up from a revised 13,863 the previous week.
An uptick in NC claims is likely soon tied to the December 18 fire at a QVC distribution center in Rocky Mount.
The company announced it was closing the facility, affecting 1,953 employees. In a WARN Act notice filed with the NC Department of Commerce, QVC said it would begin permanently laying off employees on February 1.
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On March 14, North Carolina received a $4 million federal grant to help about 650 QVC workers. The funds come from the Federal Employment Restoration Program for Displaced Workers. Employees in an area of 10 counties were affected by the factory fire.
Overall, claims in North Carolina have declined in part as employers remain reluctant to lay off workers in a tight labor market.
“This recovery is radically different from the painfully slow one that followed the Great Recession,” said John Quinterno, director of South by North Strategies Ltd., a Chapel Hill research firm specializing in economic and social policy.
“A key difference is the massive amount of support provided by Congress to households, businesses, and state and local governments at the onset of the recession.
“Without this support, our recovery trajectory would likely have resembled the long, slow climb that occurred after the Great Recession,” Quinterno said.
The national filing of initial unemployment insurance claims was 187,000, down 28,000 from the week ending March 12.
The US Labor Party said March 12 initial unemployment insurance claims were the lowest nationally since 182,000 for the week ending September 6, 1969.
As of Feb. 12, only New Jersey and New Mexico receive extended federal pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.
This means that almost all of the unemployment insurance claims currently being reported relate to state labor departments.
State labor force data does not distinguish between the number of full-time, temporary, or part-time workers, or the number of jobs held.
The US Department of Labor’s U6 index includes these people. The state’s U6 unemployment rate was 8.4% in December, while the US rate was 7.2% in January. US Labor updates state U6 rates on a quarterly basis.
“Unfortunately, while the virus appears to have receded, a new threat to the economy has emerged with the war in Ukraine,” said Michael Walden, professor of economics at NC State University.
“Until the Ukrainian war is resolved, economic uncertainty will remain high.”