RALEIGH — Federally funded unemployment checks related to COVID-19 relief are set to see the final payments hit on July 25, which may come as a surprise to some. The funds come from the $2.2 trillion stimulus relief bill signed by President Trump at the end of March.
In a chat with an N.C. Dept. of Employment Security (NCDES) website help operator, it was confirmed that the final COVID-related payments would hit in North Carolina on July 25.
The NCDES provides details on both the state and federal programs. Regular unemployment insurance has a maximum of $350 a week for 12 weeks. The federally funded extra $600 a week as part of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) ran from April 4 and will end July 25, despite the program being authorized through July 31.
Both Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is a max of $350 a week for up to 39 weeks. They each have an additional federal $600 a week that runs from April 4 to July 25.
PUA is for independent contractors and the self-employed, while PEUC is for people who are eligible for state UI benefits but have exhausted their 12-week benefit supply and is a 13-week extension of state unemployment benefits available from April 4 to December 26, 2020. PEUC reasons for loss of work do not have to include COVID-19.
Claims in the state for the last seven days spanning July 8 through July 14 totaled 80,140. Since March 15, over 1.9 million claims have been filed and NCDES lists over 1.6 million individual claimants.
Payouts to date that include state and pandemic funds now total $5,767,822,050. PEUC compensation payouts make up the majority at $3,026,567,643.
June’s nationwide unemployment numbers showed an 11% drop, representing a gain of 4.8 million jobs, however, The Associated Press reported that the job-market recovery “could already be faltering of a new round of closings and layoffs triggered by a resurgence of the coronavirus.”
The June numbers were lower than the expected 12.4% and a positive improvement over the 14.7% rate in April and the 13.3% rate in May. Nonfarm payrolls rose in June by 4.8 million, far beyond the expected 2.9 million increase.
North Carolina’s June seasonally adjusted rate was unchanged from May, standing at 4.1% according to the monthly report issued by the N.C. Department of Commerce. According to the report, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased 5,000 to 4,561,000 in June. The largest over-the-month increase was in Leisure & Hospitality Services and “other services.”
Between March 15 and early April, NCDES had seen an unprecedented surge in claims coming in at just under 389,000. The unemployment rate rose in all 100 North Carolina counties during April. In May, unemployment claims in North Carolina passed 1 million.
With Gov. Roy Cooper extending Phase Two for another three weeks and with legal challenges to the governor’s orders by certain industries such as bowling alleys on hold, the state’s unemployment rate could likely rise again.