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Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday more than 100,000 people filed unemployment insurance claims last week.

For those who have been laid off due to the threat of COVID-19, Chuck Brown, manager of the Morganton employment office, said the doors at the local employment office are closed but staff is answering phone calls and questions and are able to connect people to employers who are looking for qualified workers.

Brown said unemployment claims are processed online at and at a call center at 888-737-0259. Employers who have questions about unemployment insurance can contact our Employer Call Center at 919-707-1150 for assistance.

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Department of Commerce had a notice on its website saying its customer call center is experiencing high call volumes and the fastest way to file for assistance is online. To find out more about filing unemployment claims due to COVID-19, visit The link to apply for assistance is

Brown said the Morganton employment office is closed but staff is still at the office answering calls and directing people to where they need.

In the meantime, there are jobs to be had in Burke and neighboring counties and some employers are desperately in need of more workers, Brown said.

One of those places is Baxter Healthcare in McDowell County, which makes medical devices. Brown said the company sent a request for an immediate need for all entry level jobs. He said he believes Baxter Healthcare’s starting pay is good and it needs workers immediately. Baxter has multiple jobs listed on its website for the Marion facility, including material packing handler, subassembly operator, production technician, warehouse/receiving manager, delivery driver, assistant supervisor and principal engineer. To see the jobs available, visit

Brown said other jobs in the county available include work in distribution centers, warehouses, delivery, food — grocery stores, and food processors.

Burke County’s unemployment rate for January was 3.9 percent, up from 3.2 percent in December, according to figures from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

To look for jobs in Burke or surrounding counties, visit

Sharon McBrayer can be reached at or at 828-432-8946.

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