State Bolsters Unemployment Processing After A Million Michiganders Apply

Over a quarter of Michigan’s workforce have filed for unemployment since COVID-19 shut down the local economy. State officials say they’re racing to meet the demand.

Increased numbers filing for employment have at times brought the state’s system to a standstill with busy signals and crashed websites.

Michigan officials say they’re aware of issues with the state unemployment website and are working to correct the problems.

“We’ve added 100 individual call center staff. We’ve expanded the number of hours and operations of those call centers.” — Jeff Donofrio, State of Michigan

Over a million workers have filed for unemployment, or nearly a quarter of the state’s workforce. Jeff Donofrio, Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth says the number of people filing is unprecedented. 

“That number has increased to over a million,” Donofrio said. “Which means over a quarter of our state’s workforce have filed for benefits.”

He says this has put pressure on the current system. But the department is scaling up to meet the level of demand. There are a number of ways to speed up the process for those needing to file for unemployment benefits.

“For those who need additional assistance, we know help is on the way,” Donofrio said. “We’ve added 100 individual call center additional staff. We’ve expanded the number of hours and operations of those call centers.”

The department will also dedicate staff to helping customers with with login issues. 

Donofrio says the state is increasing call center hours and the number of operators to answer questions. He asks people to file for unemployment online late into the evening to ease congestion on the site

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.