Sudden influx of people looking for work overwhelming unemployment system

Published: March 24, 2020 6:44 PM EDT
Updated: March 24, 2020 7:04 PM EDT

Right now, many businesses are closing or reducing their hours, which means many Americans are losing their jobs and worrying about making ends meet.

People are being told to call or apply online, but neither are good options at the moment.

With the sudden influx of people looking for work, that’s put a lot of pressure on the system.

The website people need to use to file for re-employment benefits is very slow and the phone number is almost impossible to get through to, with some saying they’d been on hold for hours.

The Department of Economic Opportunity says their call volume tripled in just one week.

So the other option is to apply online, which you’re automatically greeted with a warning that there are higher-than-average wait times because of the coronavirus.

One man reached out to us saying he lost his job in the hospitality industry and was having issues with the website. He said he waited four hours on the phone and was told the system is down.

We reached out to the DEO and they said the system is slower because of the increased volume and is asking for patience.

If it doesn’t work for you, try again later, adding that the website is still the easiest way to apply.

In the governor’s news conference earlier Tuesday, he did talk about a spike in jobless claims, saying 21,000 people applied for benefits just on Monday. That’s a 3,000 application increase from just the day before.