New figures show that unemployment benefit claims in North Carolina have surged more than 5,000% since the coronavirus pandemic began, with the unemployment department having received more claims “in just 64 days than it did during the whole year of 2009 during the Great Recession.”
The statistics come just days after a new study showed that North Carolina small businesses had received just a small fraction of the $189 billion lent so far through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It also showed that an overwhelming majority of businesses owned by people of color were unable to secure PPP loans.
“North Carolina’s businesses are hurting, and instead of ensuring that our entrepreneurs and workers are getting the federal relief they need in this moment of crisis, the Trump administration has doled out millions to firms with ties to the president,” said NCDP Chairman Wayne Goodwin. “Our workforce and businesses have been waiting far too long for meaningful support from this administration. It’s clear that the president is more interested in blaming others for his missteps than looking for real solutions to protect our workers.”
On Monday it was confirmed that the coronavirus had spread to all of North Carolina’s 100 counties after a new case was discovered in Avery County. Nationally, the total number of cases reached 1.5 million, while the U.S. death toll crossed 90,000.
Trump advisers have said the national unemployment rate could reach Great Depression levels of more than 20%, but as recently as two weeks ago Trump was publicly discussing shutting down his coronavirus task force even as the virus continues to devastate the country.