Sharp increase in unemployment numbers tied to coronavirus

Published 8:26 am Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

On Friday, April 3, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its monthly jobs report showing non-farm payroll employment fell by 701,000 in March.

Nationally, the March unemployment rate rose to 4.4%, a 0.9 percentage point increase. This is the largest over the month increase in the rate since January 1975, which was also 0.9 percent increase.

The sharp increases reflect the effect of coronavirus containment efforts.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

The number of unemployed persons rose by 1.4 million to 7.1 million people in March.

In North Carolina, the state’s restaurant and hotel operators reported that travel restrictions and closings have put 370,000 workers out of work.

The state unemployment insurance agency said Tuesday that it had received more than 355,000 initial claims since March 16 and nearly nine in 10 were virus-related.

Checks to 41,000 people totaling a little over $10 million rolled out from the state this week.

Nationally, unemployment applications surged to 3.3 million during the week ended March 21 and jumped to 6.6 million applications the next week. Just under 10 million people have filed claims nationwide since the middle of March.

On Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 124 prohibiting utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic. The order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days. The utility must give the customer a six-month payoff period.

In the order, telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services are strongly urged to follow these same rules. Banks are encouraged not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties. Landlords are strongly encouraged to delay any evictions that are already entered in the court system.

Cooper thanked companies which have voluntarily announced polices to prevent shutoffs, including Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, AT&T and local electric co-ops like Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative.



North Carolina courts delay most proceedings due to virus

Capital projects now on Dare County’s list