US Jobless Claims Rise Due to Hurricane Florence

Author : Steven De Nazareth

Updated : June 12th, 2019

US Jobless Claims Rise Due to Hurricane Florence

Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose but remained near a 49 year low. This increase appeared unlikely to make a dent in the US labor market which remains strong.

The claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 7,000 and adjusted to 214,000 for the week. Earlier, economists suggested that the claims forecast was slipping to 206,000 from 207,000.

Claimed increased for South and North Carolina which were affected by Hurricane Florence and claims for Virginia and Puerto Rico were being estimated. The four weeks moving average of initial claims considered a better measure of labor market trends which irons out week-to-week volatility which rose by 2,500 to 209,500

The labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment, which many economists believe is helping U.S. wages grow a little more quickly and fueling expectations the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates again in December. This year alone, the Fed has already raised rates three times.

The claim report expressed that the number of people receiving benefits after the initial week of aid rose 4,000 to 1.66 million for the week ended September 29. The four weeks moving average of the so-called continued claims which has decreased 10,000 to 1.66 million to the lowest level since August 1973.

People seeking help with lost wages from Florence has surpassed Matthew. This is nearly 9300 North Carolinians that have applied for disaster-related unemployment benefits due to Hurricane Florence.

Many of these people which is nearly 8000 have applied for disaster unemployment assistance which is an additional benefit for those that are left without wages due to the storm. This is nearly four times the number of people that requested for disaster unemployment assistance after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

There are several in Eastern North Carolina that have not resulted in several days and weeks without pay. These are hourly workers, self-employed workers, fishermen, and farmers. Most lost wages at the end of the month especially when they have to make payments for mortgage, rent or electricity.

Metros Hit Badly

The state has made payments of more than $300,000 in claims and this could easily pay out several million. After Hurricane Matthew, payouts reached more than $2.8 million for storm-related unemployment claims. There were more than 7545 applications for regular unemployment and around 2200 for DUA after the storm.

Hurricane Florence had a much larger impact on metropolitan areas, such as Wilmington, Jacksonville, and New Bern, while Hurricane Matthew hit more rural areas. The storm hit areas which have a higher labor market which means greater claims numbers.

Disaster unemployment assistance is available to people who live in one of the 28 counties approved for a federal disaster. This is for residents that cannot work as the roads are flooded, power outages and damage to the building are constraints to their work.

It also helps those who are ineligible for standard unemployment insurance recoup some of those lost wages from the storm. People may not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits because they’ve already used their 12-week allotment for the year or because they haven’t been in their job long enough to qualify for benefits.

However, workers should apply for standard unemployment as well as DUA. While standard unemployment benefits pay up to $350 a week for 12 weeks, DUA pays up to $350 a week for up to 27 weeks.

The Division of Employment Security has been busy since Florence hit North Carolina with all employees helping process claims. In Onslow County, the DES used the Division of Workforce Solutions’ only bus to make a mobile computer lab to process applications.

Scotland County which has the state’s largest unemployment rate at 7.6 percent had the state’s NC Works office handling claims in downtown Laurinburg. This area was flooded by the storm and forced workers to temporarily relocate to Scotland County’s economic development office.

Most roads in Scotland County’s rural region was flooded and damaged which kept away many workers from their jobs.

NC Works employees moved to Kordsa in Laurel Hill to assist with the worker’s file claims. Places like Kordsa, which employs around 100 people which manufactures nylon wiring for tires. The company’s building lost power and the roads around it flooded, causing it to halt operations for four days.

How to Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance

If you are a worker from one of these 28 counties in Eastern North Carolina then you have been approved for federal disaster assistance.

Eligible counties are: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne and Wilson.

The eligibility criteria for DUA include the following where an individual should meet one or more of these conditions as a direct result of a major disaster

  • No longer have a job
  • Unable to reach their place of employment
  • Scheduled to start work but unable to reach the job
  • Become the breadwinner or major support of family because of disaster-related death of the head of household
  • Cannot work because of injury directly caused by the declared disaster
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  1. I applied for unemployment in New Mexico because I wasn’t getting my full-time hours and my checks were never correct I was constantly fighting with the company now I’ve exhausted my unemployment benefits and they sent me a questionnaire about my work and it says adjuctation what does that mean.. I am extremely frightened

    1. Amal,

      Adjudication is like an “Appeals” process. You may be asked to present facts and paperwork relating to your claim. If everything is fine with your claim, please face it with confidence. You’ll be given a sound hearing.

    1. Carolyn,

      If this is your initial claim, it will take a min. of 7-10 business days for the determination to be made. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

    1. David,

      Please let us know the state you’re writing from. You can also visit the Unemployment Office’s official website for phone numbers.

    2. My initial unemployment benefits run out next month. How long does it take for the extension to be determined? As I havent found suitable work. And have met all requirements to find employment. Filed in TX. If I qualify for benefits do I automatically qualify for an extention?

      1. Le,

        The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.


    1. James,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  3. I am Disabled I have had several surgeries on my lower spine. I found that I was not able to male it die to Bills became overwhelming.
    I got a Job with S3 security in Tallahassee f. Where I found out that all company rules were online and They said I needed to find them and opine to them. I told them I was with Dyslexia and I. could not find them. and 2. if I could have would not have been able to remember them. this is one of my life time Disabilities. I asked to be explained the Rules but was not. For 6 mounts I was praised by the places I worked. Then recently the Sargent told me to help a student locked out there Apartment. So I did. Next day he wanted to write me up for doing what he told me to do. I told him No I would not sign a demerit that would follow me around for ever Paper work does that! I all ways did the best I could. The Captain had made a open threat that he would do all he could to take badges and make us look bad to Fla. AG. I had hurt my ankle and am getting over it. They say the wishes of Property manager was reason I was Terminated with not following post orders. Not signing the forms excepting the wright ups. With just having Epidurals to ease the Spinal pain and them being 1/2 done I had attitude to being lied on by my Sargent. When I was told to do a job. I am kinda Glad I am out of there. No Supervision just the Sargent larking in shadows waiting to wright me up to make him look good so it seemed. I had to use my own Ins. to go get help for my leg. Now I don’t know if I can get Unemployment due to what they say I did after suitability doing the best I could to keep the Complex and Students as safe that I could.

    1. William,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who’re able and available for work. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification. Hope you get well soon!

  4. I have been trying to fill out unemployment application on line, but it will not let me put my social security # in the spaces

  5. From 1/2018 to 10/2018 I worked for a Merriville-based organization but I live in Illinois. The employer told me I couldn’t claim unemployment from Indiana because of my Illinois residency. Yesterday, I learned that I should have been able to. Can I claim those benefits now? I was unemployed from 10/19/2018 until 8/24/2019.

  6. I am trying to file a new unemployment claim on line and the link says it cant be reached. Are you experiencing any web site problems?

  7. I RECIEVED A”MY DOCUMENT” DATED 8/26/2019-TODAY STATING I DID NOT SEARCH FOR 2 JOBS LAST WEEK…BUT,1- 1/2 DAYS AGO, EARLY SUNDAY MORNING, JUST LIKE I HAVE FOR 9-WEEKS,I DID WHAT THEM SYSTEM TOLD ME TO DO. I FILED MY WEEKLY BENEFITS TELLING Y’ALL THAT ON THURSDAY 8/23/2019 I BEGAN WORKING AGAIN. I TOLD ON MY CLAIMING WEEKLY BENEFIT FORM THAT I ALSO WORKED FRIDAY. I TOLD THE AMOUNT OF MONEY I EARNED PER-HOUR, I TOLD THAT I I worked 16hrs for the week ending 8/24/19,i gave the total amount,and i told i have not got 10 cents of the money yet,and $12.75×16 is not more than $326.00. I just got home to learn payment is being held,once again i’m being punish for an unemployment crime i did’nt commit. Four hours of interviews last week led to me getting hired, that led to 16hrs of work,that was reported within the rules. I did everything right.

    1. Please register with PAcareerlink and attend the RESEA orientation as required and take the necessary documents with you. Then
      begin an active job search. The state wants to see this activity and is done in order to receive your benefit compensation.

      Take care

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