January 14, 2014

North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said over the weekend that he was forced to cut funding for long-term unemployment insurance to stop "migration" for the "very generous benefits."

Last year, North Carolina became the first state to disqualify itself for federal long-term unemployment insurance assistance by cutting back benefits for new unemployment claims. At the time, McCrory refused to consider delaying the cuts until the federal long-term unemployment insurance program expired earlier this month.

The U.S. Senate is now working on a bipartisan compromise that would once again extend those long-term benefits. But that doesn't mean North Carolinians will be seeing any relief.

On Sunday, the host of the political show NC Spin asked the North Carolina governor why 100,000 fewer people were working in North Carolina since he signed the bill cutting unemployment benefits.

"We had the ninth most generous unemployment compensation in the country and we were having a lot of people move here, frankly, especially in urban areas to get unemployment and then work other sectors and survive," McCrory explained. "So, people were moving here because of our very generous benefits, and then of course, we had more debt."

"So I think, personally, more people got off unemployment and either got jobs or moved back to where they were going or came from and quit the migration as much because of unemployment," he added. "We've seen this in other states where the benefits are very high, it could draw people from outside the state."

In a fact check on Monday, WRAL looked at McCrory's claim and determined that it was highly unlikely that many people moved to North Carolina for unemployment benefits because at least six months of work are required in the state before being eligible.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro economist Andrew Brod told WRAL that McCrory's assertion "defies reason."

"People are a little bit more likely to stay in place and suffer the slings and arrows of an outrageous recession," Brod noted.

When asked where the governor came up with his information, spokesperson Kim Genardo told the station that the "governor was referring to personal stories he’s heard."

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