Thursday, January 08, 2009

A sign of the Bush end times

Ohio unemployment lines melt under overload. The state says it will also run out of money to pay the unemployment claims soon.
Ohioans' post-holiday demand for jobless benefits has spiked sharply, crashing the state's unemployment-claims system and forcing people to wait hours, sometimes days, before getting help.
In yet another sign of a worsening economy, the state Web site for filing claims electronically was shut down and phone lines have been jammed by more than 10 times as many requests.

Unemployment-filing systems have crashed in at least two other states in recent days as 4.5 million Americans -- a 26-year high -- are collecting jobless benefits.

Ohio officials say they are scrambling to hire temporary workers to staff call centers, and technicians are working to fix the Web site...

Ohio's unemployment rate in November was 7.3 percent, with 435,000 out of work. The state pays nearly $43 million in jobless benefits each week.

The demand is about to exhaust the state's unemployment compensation fund, which as of Monday was down to $16 million.

When that's gone, Ohio will be forced to borrow -- with interest -- from a federal loan fund to ensure that benefits continue being paid.

Unemployment compensation systems are under similar strains in North Carolina and New York, where Web sites crashed because of high demand.

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