Unemployment applications skyrocket as COVID-19 forces businesses to close their doors

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Businesses and organizations across the Queen City have had to shut their doors amid the coronavirus outbreak and the number of closed shops pales in comparison to the number of people now out of work. 

“Rent is still due. I still need to be going forward and I need to have unemployment coming in,” Charlotte resident Christopher Hawthorne said.

Christopher isn’t alone. More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment last week alone. That’s a record number. 

“I don’t know about you, but I have bills,” Emanuel Jenkins said. 

Economists estimate roughly 10 million Americans have lost their jobs. 270,000 of those people are in North Carolina. The fear is that the number is even higher, but many people are having trouble even just trying to file.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE EXPANDED DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

“I came up here today because I can’t file online,” Hawthorne said. 

Christopher is one of many who took time to drive to this building on Executive Center Drive, only to find the doors were locked. 

“I’ve applied online and it basically keeps blocking me out. I’ve been trying to do this since Monday,” said Jenkins.  

A woman who works at the building says there isn’t a physical location for unemployment in the state, but under normal circumstances this office can assist. 

For now, everything is being done using the Internet. Christopher says he thinks this is only the beginning. 

“I fear the economic ramifications even after the coronavirus is dealt with is going to take longer for us to recover from than the virus itself,” he said. 
 

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