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NC launches program to recover jobless insurance overpayments

North Carolina expects to recover an initial $15 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance overpayments by targeting peoples federal tax returns.

The new initiative, called the Treasury Offset Program, allows state officials to recover the overpayments by tapping into the Internal Revenue Service’s tax refund program. The Division of Employment Security sent letters Thursday to alert those being targeted by the program.

The list includes more than 19,200 people who have committed fraud and exhausted appeals, said division spokesman Larry Parker.

The division will ultimately seek up to $50 million for repayment starting in January, a Friday press release states. Some of the $50 million is expected to be recovered through an existing program that works with the N.C. Department of Revenue to target state tax returns.

Staff writer Jeanna Smialek

Triangle jobless stats improved in November

The Triangle's jobless rate crept downward in November as the region added a modest amount of jobs to boost the local economy.

November's 8.1 percent jobless rate is down from 8.7 percent in October, according to data issued today by the N.C. Division of Employment Security. It's one of several measures that suggest the regional and national economy made gains at the end of 2011, said Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner, who seasonally adjusted the data for the N&O.

The Triangle jobless rate remains below the national average of 8.6 percent and the statewide averge of 10 percent. The Triangle includes Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Apex and Chapel Hill among other metro areas.

The Triangle added 1,900 non-farm jobs in November, mostly in education, health services, professional services and retail trade. But Vitner said that behind those growth numbers lurks a downside: Many of the new jobs were not likely the kind of high-paying positions that would signify a healthy economy.

State unemployment rate dips slightly in October to 10.4 percent

After rising for four consecutive months, the state's unemployment rate dipped slightly in October to 10.4 percent, according to seasonally adjusted data released today by N.C. Division of Employment Security.

The rate was 10.5 percent in September.

The state added 5,500 jobs in October, the majority -- 4,800 of them -- were government jobs.

Government job numbers have fluctuated wildly in recent months, falling 11,800 in July and rising by more than any other sector in August as teachers returned to work after the summer vacation.

The number of people unemployed in the state in October declined 8,273 to 466,568.

North Carolina's unemployment rate remains well above the national rate of 9 percent.

The state's unemployment rate in Oct. 2011 was 9.9 percent. 

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