As part of debt reduction measures, North Carolina has cut unemployment benefits:
North Carolina lawmakers approved deep cuts to benefits for the jobless on Wednesday, in a state that has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates.
In a debt-reducing effort, the Republican-controlled legislature voted to cut maximum weekly benefits to $350 from $535, a 35 percent drop; reduce the maximum number of weeks for collecting benefits to between 12 and 20 weeks from 26 weeks; and tighten requirements to qualify. The cuts would begin with new jobless claims on July 1.
Apparently, they owe the feds $2.5 billion they had to borrow to pay for previous unemployment benefits, and this is part of the effort to get back into the black. They're not the only state taking making these changes, either:
Since the recession began, seven other states have reduced unemployment benefits: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina. But North Carolina’s cuts would be the “harshest yet,” according to the National Employment Law Project, an employment-rights advocacy group, since the reduction in benefits is bigger than in other states.
Unemployment should be a safety net, not a hammock.