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Some relief for unemployed workers in NC: Bigger state checks, more federal money

(N&O) RALEIGH: North Carolina legislators passed a new law this month giving an additional $50 per week to everyone on state unemployment benefits.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had called on the Republican-led legislature to also extend the number of weeks people can receive state unemployment benefits here, but lawmakers decided to increase only the weekly payment amount, not the number of weeks.

As of July, the average North Carolinian on unemployment was getting $218.20 per week from state benefits — nearly $100 less than the national average of $306.03. Neither of those amounts factor in the additional federal payments, which back then were an extra $600 per week.

The extra $50 from the state will expire at the end of 2020, but in a joint statement, Republican lawmakers Sen. Chuck Edwards and Rep. Paul Newton said it was important to get the extra money to people now.

“With a high unemployment rate, it’s not easy for someone who loses a job to go out and quickly find another one,” they wrote in a news release. “Recognizing that reality, Republicans in the House and Senate support boosting assistance for every unemployment insurance recipient by more than $200 per month.”

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