California jobless claims move faster but still have delays

Mar 4, 2015 7:18 PM by News Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The state agency that handles unemployment claims for millions of Californians says it has hired nearly 500 new employees to process claims faster, but its technology still lags and responses take longer than desired.

Employment Development Department officials say callers now have to try an average of five times before they reach someone, down from an average of 31 tries in 2013.

Director Patrick Henning Jr. and other officials testified Wednesday at a Senate committee hearing about the agency's changes since the Legislature provided an extra $66 million in funding during the recession. Henning says agents now handle 50,000 calls a week.

Glitches in the department's new computer system delayed benefit checks to nearly 150,000 Californians last year.

California still owes $8.7 billion to the federal government for unemployment loans.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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