by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
Don Carrington reports for Carolina Journal:
After Gov. Roy Cooper ordered restaurants and bars closed starting March 17 due to the coronavirus, unemployment benefit claims in North Carolina skyrocketed.
More than 1 million North Carolina workers have filed claims for unemployment insurance as of May 3, the Division of Employment Security reports. The state’s civilian labor force is roughly 5 million. DES reports about 450,000 people are receiving benefits. The agency hasn’t released any estimates of people who have tried to file a claim but couldn’t get through to the call center or navigate the online process.
So in a matter of weeks, since Cooper’s shutdowns started, about one out of every five people in the state’s labor force (about 20 percent of the workforce) is suddenly out of a job.
I continue to ask: Is it worth it?
Despite all the unfathomable economic destruction in a few short weeks, and after much dithering and switching of models and shutdown rationales, Cooper finally settled on a ridiculously protracted plan to phase in reopening over a period of several weeks. That is, if all goes well. It’s entirely open-ended. Restaurants won’t be allowed to reopen till late May under a best-case scenario.
I don’t particularly care for calling Cooper’s extending the shutdowns by several more weeks a “reopening plan.”
Most of the other states in the nation are reopening. Cooper figures North Carolina to be one of the very last.