California Unemployment Agency Does Less With More: Report

The California unemployment agency’s two call centers to field questions about jobless benefits had two major problems as millions of people sought help due to the pandemic: One had nobody on site to answer calls and the other had hundreds of untrained new hires who didn’t know how to help callers. 

The result was about 600,000 callers each month “waiting on hold for hours without a statistically significant chance of being served,” according to a review of the Employment Development Department that found widespread problems that greatly hindered its ability to deal with record jobless claims. 

The report detailed the problems that have plagued the agency since March, when the government suddenly ordered businesses to close and people to stay in their homes to slow the spread of the coronavirus. To date, more than 13 million claims have been filed and the agency has doled out about $86 billion in benefits.

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