Missouri’s highest unemployment rates since mid-19-91 have slowed down the processing of claims for unemployment.
We’ll get the September unemployment rates in a few days. But the August rate of 6.6 percent was the highest since the Spring of ’91.
The state fund that pays benefits to 53-thousand jobless Missourians has more than 205-million dollars in it and is in no danger of running out–as has happened or is threatening to happen in several other states. If the fund drops far enough, state law requires employers to pay more taxes into the fund.
State Labor Department spokesman Wanda Seeney says the workload is keeping some people from getting their first checks for about a week more than usual. Normally, she says, it takes about two weeks to process an application. But the high workload has added another week to that turnaround time.And on top of that, the President has declared an extra 13 weeks of eligibility–forcing the department to contact most of the 53-thousand people on the unemployed list to process them again. She also says the processing of benefits for people whose jobs were affected by this year’s storms also has caused delays.
But Seeney says the department’s employees are working longer hours, extra days. Retired employees who know the system are helping on a part-time basis. She says the department recommends first-time filers use the department webpage to file so they don’t tie up someone on the phone.