January 23, 2009

Michigan to Boost Phone, Online Unemployment Filing

According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is adding 276 more employees -- a 50% increase -- and 200 additional phone lines to handle requests for unemployment claims from State residents.

Forbes reports that the State’s unemployment system is helping 12,000 jobless a day with claims. However, the phone system has been getting 1 million attempted calls a day, clogging phone lines. And unemployed who have turned instead to the State’s website often have found it slowed by heavy volume. Michigan’s 20-year-old unemployment system computers are in need of replacement.

Many people come to the Troy Library to search for jobs or for help with filing for unemployment. I can attest to the impact that the State’s collapsing economy has had on these folks.

Since the beginning of the year, I have helped several Technology Center computer users with the State’s unemployment website. At best, the site is painfully slow; many times it crashes, wiping out entered data. This has caused distress, frustration and anxiety among those filing for unemployment, many of whom have marginal computer skills to begin with.

I am glad that the Governor is attempting to alleviate this problem in the short-term.

Of course, putting Michigan residents back to work is the real long-term challenge.

1 comment:

jemthoreau said...

Unemployment has been inching up for months. They should have seen this coming and increased capacity.