(Winston-Salem Journal) The final unemployment-benefit lifeline for about 23,000 North Carolinians appears likely to be cut off as scheduled on Jan. 28. Although Congress agreed Dec. 23 to extend federal benefits for two months, it appears unlikely that the General Assembly will agree to allow North Carolina to borrow more money from the U.S. Labor Department.
As of Dec. 29, North Carolina had borrowed $2.67 billion from the federal government — the fourth-highest amount among 27 participating states — to pay up to 20 weeks of state-extended unemployment benefits. Those benefits are available only after claimants exhaust up to 26 weeks of initial state benefits and up to 53 weeks — representing four tiers — of federal benefits. There are 4,777 people in the Triad and Northwest North Carolina in the extended state benefit level. The state’s unemployment rate was 10 percent in November. The national rate was 8.5 percent in December, officials announced Friday.
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