ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - As the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on the economy, nearly 370,000 people in New York filed new unemployment claims last week. That’s a staggering increase of more than 2,600 percent compared to last year.
The state Department of Labor said 369,025 initial unemployment insurance claims were filed for the week ending March 28.
The week before that, 80,509 claims were filed.
In recent weeks, the state's unemployment insurance filing system has faced an unprecedented increase in volume — including a 16,000 percent increase in phone calls and a nearly 900 percent increase in web traffic, compared to a typical week.
Nationwide, more than 6.6 million new claims were filed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
That means in the past 2 weeks, 10 million Americans have filed for help.
One economist made it known what’s happening now is worse than the financial crisis of 2008 and 9/11 put together.
In order to address the surge, the New York’s Department of Labor has:
- Implemented a new, more efficient filing system based on the first letter of the applicant's last name (alphabetical order):
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
- Added over 20 additional servers to support the website's capacity
- Begun working with major technology companies to further improve website and call center capacity and functionality.
New Yorkers seeking to file an unemployment insurance claim can visit labor.ny.gov or call the Telephone Claim Center at 888-209-8124.