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Unemployment claims crash state website

Unemployment claims crash state website

Overwhelm phone lines

Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Photo by John Minchillo / AP

(The Center Square) – A record number of Michigan residents are filing for unemployment, and simultaneously have been frustrated by long waits and other online and telecommunications issues.

The Michigan website crashed at 11 a.m. Tuesday and was rendered inoperable for nearly two hours. It was up and running again at 1 p.m.

The system normally handles an average of 5,000 unemployment claims per week on average but was overwhelmed by a record number reported by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) at 129,000 unemployed Michigan workers for the week ending March 21.

Currently, Michigan’s unemployment is the fourth highest in the nation, behind Pennsylvania (378,900), Ohio (187,800), and California (186,800), according to DOL data.

Nationwide, unemployment was 3.8 million for the week ending March 21, marking what the DOL asserts is “the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.” The previous high was 695,000 in October 1982.  

In contrast to the dismal unemployment numbers, Pure Michigan Connect announced Tuesday afternoon the need of state-based employers for “40,000+” job openings. Workers are sought in the fields of logistics, health care, manufacturing and agribusiness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Job seekers should visit MiTalent.org.

“Michiganders are tough and hardworking, especially in times of crisis,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a news release. “Tens of thousands of open jobs are available right now with more than 2,000 Michigan companies and organizations hiring to continue providing critical services.”

Employers seeking to hire during the coronavirus crisis are encouraged to access the COVID-19 On-Demand Hiring Intake Form.

“While many Michiganders are being displaced from work, thousands of employers have immediate job openings,” Michigan Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said in a press release. “We encourage those who are currently unemployed to search available jobs at MiTalent.org.” 

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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