According to the 2012 Census Bureau Data released this month, 1 in 5 North Carolinians are faced with poverty (http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2013/09/24/policy-matters-for-poverty-in-nc-focus-on-unemployment-insurance/). With an unemployment rate of 8.7% (http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm), North Carolina has the sixth worst unemployment rate in the nation. Job openings are outnumbered 3 to 1 by the unemployed, and these aspects congregate to make unemployment insurance a very significant form of welfare in North Carolina. These results are evidenced by the fact that in 2012, unemployment insurance brought 1.7 million North Carolinians above the poverty line, lower than previous years due to congressional cuts, but still a very compelling statistic in support of unemployment insurance. Slowly but surely though, successive legislation slashing unemployment benefits has detracted from its effectiveness. Over 3.2 million North Carolinians were pulled out of poverty by unemployment insurance in 2011, but this number, as stated earlier, drastically decreased to 1.7 million in 2012. This data strikes at the core issue I will be focusing on in my blog, the rejection of additional unemployment benefits by North Carolina’s General Assembly. The federal government generously offered to extend and increase benefits in some cases, but the North Carolina General Assembly has rejected any additional welfare offered to the poor people in our state. No matter your stance on the topic, the resistance of welfare purely based on disdain for the people who receive them or the political party of the president is not a positive plan. According to the census, there are more people now without jobs who do not receive welfare from the government than there were at the height of the economic recession. It is expected that over 170,000 North Carolinians will not receive their unemployment benefits as a result of these unexplained cuts. This data is very significant to the unemployment debate and I believe that statistics such as these should alarm people in our state as to the unnecessary nature of rejecting the federal aid.
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