NY Department of Labor sees surge of New Yorkers filing for unemployment claims


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. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Labor received 369,025 initial unemployment insurance claims last week, an increase of 288,516 from the previous week.

According to the report released from the department, that’s a 2,675% increase compared to last year. New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said the increase in claims are due to the sudden increase of layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know that businesses across the Empire State are bearing the brunt of this developing economic crisis, and that means hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers’ livelihoods are at risk. But we have a resilient workforce in New York State — and that will not be diminished,” Reardon said in a press release.

The report included a 16,000% increase in phone calls and a 900% increase in web traffic to the Department of Labor.

New Yorkers are frustrated due to complications they have experienced when filing for unemployment. The Department of Labor said they have implemented a more efficient filing system to address the surge.

  • Filing system based on applicant’s last name:
    • A – F : Monday
    • G – N : Tuesday
    • O – Z : Wednesday
    • Missed your day: Thursday through Saturday
  • Streamlined the claims process, automating additional processes and reducing the situations in which a filer has to call and speak with a representative;
  • Dedicated 700 staff to the Department of Labor’s unemployment insurance Telephone Claim Center, with plans to bring hundreds of additional staff on board;
  • Extended the Telephone Claim Center’s hours, including expanding service to Saturdays:
    • Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM
    • Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
    • Saturdays, 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM
  • Begun working with major technology companies to further improve website and call center capacity and functionality.


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