January 8, 2009

Jobless in Michigan overwhelm state system

Michigan state offices are handling 11,000 calls a day from unemployed workers, with countless calls put on hold, state officials said.

The number of missed calls to deal with Michigan's 400,000 claiming unemployment benefits is possibly hundreds of thousands "¦ each day, The Detroit News reported Thursday.

In response, the state has opened seven new claims processing offices, hired 90 temporary workers and demanded some handling claims work overtime. The state also added a new computer server to deal with onslaught of calls pushed by the addition of 110,000 new claim filers in November, the News said.

The state unemployment rate, the highest in the country, is at 9.6 percent.

The state is acutely aware of the problem and is taking a number of steps to deal with it, Gov. Jennifer Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said.

Other states are also finding their processing systems overwhelmed.

Unemployment filling systems have crashed in New York, North Carolina and Ohio in recent days, the News said.