Fact Check: McCrory Statement on Unemployment Gets Red Light

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A recent fact check Governor McCrory's claim that other states are following North Carolina's lead when it comes to slashing unemployment benefits ruled that Governor McCrory was wrong and gave the statement a "red light." Mark Binker at WRAL interviewed several policy analysts who all said that other states were in fact not following North Carolina's lead in cutting unemployment benefits. From the article,

All of that is fair enough. 

But then he said this: "And I might add, all the other states now have followed our lead and have also decided not to extend unemployment compensation."


No matter what side of the unemployment insurance debate you stand on – critics of McCrory and the Republican-led legislature said the state unnecessarily penalized workers hurt by the recession, while McCrory points to the dropping unemployment rate as evidence his policies are working – it's fair to say that North Carolina has dramatically changed its unemployment compensation policy over the past two years. 

But it's hard to think of a program or policy that North Carolina pioneered and then "all other states" have adopted on their own.

The Question: Have other states somehow "followed our lead" on unemployment insurance?   

Summary Judgment: The governor's statement gets a red light. North Carolina was a trendsetter of sorts, but it is a stretch to suggest other states "decided" to follow our lead. 

The Governor Says: It took us a while to catch up with the Governor's Office on this, and in the mean time, we called some policy experts to see if they knew what McCrory was talking about. We asked if they knew of North Carolina adopting a policy that all other states had then emulated. 

Michael Leachman, a state fiscal policy expert, called the remark, "bizarre," and Burt Barnow, a former U.S. Labor Department official who is now a public policy professor at George Washington University, added, "I'm not aware of anything like that." One other national policy expert declined to even hazard a comment but couldn't think of an example of North Carolina being a trend setter.

Just as we were about to throw up our hands, McCrory spokesman Ryan Tronovitch emailed to clarify that the governor was speaking about Congress failing to renew the long-term benefits program for all Americans six months after the workers in North Carolina lost access.


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