More Than 300,000 North Carolinians File Initial Unemployment Claims In Just Two Weeks

CHARLOTTE, NC. — Governor Roy Cooper says first payments for unemployment claims related to the coronavirus will be starting this week. In the past two weeks, more than 300,000 people have filed initial unemployment claims in North Carolina.

Jennifer Withrow is one of those people. She worked at Common Market Oakwold until March 19th, when the server was laid off. She says filing for unemployment has been difficult.

“I had been on the phone with unemployment services for two hours just on hold waiting to talk to anybody. It was hard enough making a claim in itself because the website itself has crashed five or six times in the time I’ve spent trying to make a claim,” says Withrow.

305,804 people have filed initial unemployment claims in North Carolina since March 16th. A normal week is usually 3,000 claims according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

According to the North Carolina Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification report for 2020, over 2,100 people have been laid off in Mecklenburg county this year. WCCB combed through the report and saw a staggering uptick of mass layoffs starting in mid-March.

Withdraw wanted to help. She and a friend started the Instagram and Twitter pages called CLT Laid Off Locals. Sharing stories of those who have been laid off locally from their jobs because of the coronavirus and how to help. The pages quickly took off, with hundreds of followers a messages pouring in. Withdraw says these pages create a sense of community during trying times.

“People have been donating, but mostly people have been sharing people stories and reaching out and telling us how much they appreciate what we’ve done and what we’re currently doing.”