Payne says that more than two-and-one-half years of rising unemployment have taken their toll on the fund that provides benefits to the state's eligible unemployed.
Unemployment benefits are traditionally paid from funds collected from the state's employers and placed in the Unemployment Trust Fund.
"On April 1 for the first time in the history of the N.C. Employment Security Commission (ESC), money was borrowed from the federal government to continue paying benefits to workers," said Payne, in a Monday release.
"I stress that the ESC will always assure that there are available funds to continue paying jobless benefits to workers currently receiving benefits, as well as to those who may lost their jobs in the future through no fault of their own," he added.
On a related subject, Payne pointed out that the increasing unemployment across the state has brought a "wealth of professionally-trained, highly-qualified workers who are currently seeking employment." He added that these workers have a variety of employment backgrounds and many come from some of the largest industries in the state.
"Workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own file with the ESC to collect jobless benefits," said Payne. "At the same time, they also register to find work. This integration of employment and unemployment insurance services puts people back to work sooner and is a tax-savings for employers.
"Although many N.C. employers have become unnerved about adding workers to their payrolls-especially in light of the Iraq war-there actually is not better time than the present to do just that."
Payne said that ESC has numerous applicants "who possess a great work ethic with years of experience in their fields."
He added that for many of these workers, unemployment is a totally new experience. He pointed out that although the maximum weekly unemployment benefit in North Carolina is $408, the average unemployment benefit is $246.88, "hardly enough to comfortably support a family."
Payne said the ESC provides employers an excellent resource to match prospective employees to job openings in every sector of the economy. He said the ESC can screen applicants to ensure the best match of applicant to job.
Employers who wish to list jobs with the ESC can call the nearest ESC office or go online to www.ncesc.com. These services are free to the employer and prospective employee.
"When the ESC partners with the employer community to help them find workers, it is a win-win situation for both," said Payne. "Employers receive some of North Carolina's best and brightest workers, and these workers can once again provide for their families and become thriving contributors to the economy."