North Carolina is on pace to pay back its huge debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance by the end of next year. That's largely because the state slashed unemployment benefits.

Anyone applying for unemployment benefits in North Carolina now faces new requirements. They include providing a valid government issued photo ID at a face-to-face meeting. Those who don’t, risk losing their benefits. 

The unemployment rate dropped significantly in November from 8 to 7.4 percent.  The rate has fallen 2 percentage points in the past year and is the lowest it’s been since 2008.  But that’s not all cause for celebration. 

The labor force decreased by about 8,100.  Allan Freyer, an analyst with the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, says the rate dropped so much because many people just became discouraged and stopped looking for work. 

The military supports roughly 540,000 jobs in North Carolina, but its presence may shrink over the next few years. That's according to a report the N.C. Commerce Department released Tuesday.

Michael Tomsic

Food banks in North Carolina that are struggling to keep up with high demand are getting emergency relief from Governor Pat McCrory's administration. McCrory announced Monday they'll split $750,000 over the next few weeks, in part to help them get through the partial government shutdown. But demand at food banks has been rising since before the shutdown and can also be traced to changes on the state level.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

About 80 people were arrested at the state house in Raleigh Monday night. It was the culmination of the latest “Moral Monday”—a series of protests led by the NAACP, against Governor Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders. All told, nearly 700 have been arrested in the nine weeks of demonstrations. As the protests have continued to grow, WFAE’s Ben Bradford documented the latest event.


A North Carolina legislative committee approved a plan Tuesday to cut unemployment benefits and raise taxes on some businesses. Republicans behind the plan say those are necessary steps to pay back more than $2.5 billion the state owes the federal government.

Peter Shanks/Flickr

The combination of tax raises and spending cuts, known as the fiscal cliff, begins taking effect on Wednesday. If no compromise is reached in Washington, North Carolina could lose nearly 30,000 jobs and three percent of its economic output, according to a July report from George Mason University. That’s next year alone. Overall, North Carolina would face more than a $120 billion in cuts over the next decade.

North Carolina Department of Commerce *Data is preliminary.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to a seasonally-adjusted 9.1 percent in November, according to the latest data today from the state’s Commerce Department. That’s still more than a point above the national rate of 7.7 percent, but it’s still more “ho ho ho” than “bah humbug.”

While it decreased by 0.2 percent, North Carolina’s unemployment is still the fifth highest in the nation. But, there’s some trends that have Clemson University economist Bruce Yandle feeling the holiday spirit.

Helping The Unemployed Learn On The Job

Oct 8, 2012

Sheila Hemphill is a grant specialist with Charlotte Works. She interacts with a lot of job seekers – including many who have been unemployed for a very long time.