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Joblessness continues to spike statewide

April 26. Initial unemployment claims are slowing down in North Carolina, with fewer than 150,000 filing for unemployment insurance. It may be lower than the previous week, but the number is still 40 times higher than the average for the weeks preceding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nationwide, the numbers are hard to comprehend. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11 percent for the week ended April 11, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

This marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of this type of federally reported jobless data.

Manufacturing and tourism

Part of the reason the increase is so staggering is North Carolina’s footprint in manufacturing and tourism, two industries that have been hard hit by the virus crisis.

In North Carolina projections of advance claims reported suggest another 104,000 initial weekly claims in North Carolina were filed in the week ended April 18.

Data from the Division of Employment Security indicated North Carolina’s jobless claims have topped 705,000 from March 16 through April 22.

North Carolina unemployment benefits are at the low end of the 50 states with an average weekly benefit of $277 and a maximum of $350.

At the height of the Great Recession, the NC Division of Employment Security processed about 100,000 claims in one month.