Who Is Hiring In This Down Economy?

January 12, 2009

joblessBy John Newcomer:

As the economy is grinding to a stop, there is still one business that is hiring — the Department of Labor.

With each new lay off, there are new claims being filed for unemployment benefits. A one-half million job loss in December means 500,000 new claim forms.

To deal with the onslaught, New York State recently doubled the size of its staff of representatives who field calls about unemployment benefits.  The state also extended its hours just to keep up with calls. Even so, twice the number of counselors still could not keep up with the January surge of new filings.

Last Monday, as many as 10,000 people per hour tried to log into the system to file new claims or check on existing claims. This resulted in the whole computer system shutting down. In fact, for the past few weeks the number of first- time claims has been averaging 30,000 per week in New York. That’s the equivalent of everyone in Elmira, New York losing their jobs every week.

When will it stop?