A rise in unemployment benefits in North Carolina

A rise in unemployment benefits in North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina has seen a jump in how many people are filing for unemployment benefits so far this week.

On Thursday, that number reached nearly 200,000 people in need of relief.

That number jumped by 30,000 from Wednesday to Thursday.

The majority of the people who are in need of unemployment benefits were laid off because of COVID-19.

Reece Watson says he was laid off from Firebirds Wood Fired Grill in Stonecrest last week. He was employed as a server there since May 2019.

The former worker says the restaurant was going simply to takeout and not dine-in. He says he filed for unemployment soon after his change in employment status - but faced challenges.

“I haven’t heard anything back,” Watson said. “Nothing. When I went to file for unemployment - the screen - every screen that I had to come up to would crash - so I had to refresh it, took me two hours. It was absurd.”

Watson is ready to get back to work. He says he is tired of sitting at home.

“I’m looking at all these grocery stores,” Watson said. “And they’re saying they’re hiring. I’m about to do that today.”

North Carolina State Representative Nasif Majeed says the number of people in need of unemployment benefits is unprecedented. Majeed says North Carolina has enough money to take care of people who are in need of unemployment benefits.

“We’re fortunate to have that.” Democratic NC Representative Nasif Majeed said.

Majeed serves on a state committee that is reviewing the economic impact of COVID-19 and that includes unemployment. Majeed recently met with officials and he was told the problems with the computers when filing unemployment benefits should be fixed.

“They are feeling an increase,” Majeed said. “But right now they will be able to handle the increase in traffic.”

Republican NC Representative Craig Horn is also weighing in on people filing unemployment benefits. Horn says despite NC having about $2 billion in reserves - the state should be careful. He says we don’t know how long the state will feel the effects of COVID-19 and the state doesn’t know how damaging this year’s Hurricane season will be.

Watson says while the state does its part trying to help those laid off - he wants to stay optimistic.

“You got to stay positive,” Watson said. “Cause this is the times you really find out how big of a community we are.”

More unemployment numbers are expected soon.

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