More lay-offs lead to longer lines at unemployment office - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

More lay-offs lead to longer lines at unemployment office

Ellen Kai Ellen Kai
Ross Wolpin Ross Wolpin

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Less jobs and more lay-offs have lead to longer waits at the unemployment line here on Oahu.

In this Toughing it Out report, KHNL News explains how those long lines are affecting those already filing for unemployment.

Busy phones lines leave those without a job no choice but to head to the unemployment office in person. It's frustrating but it's the best way to assure getting paid on time.

With not enough people to handle the volume of those filing for unemployment, the wait can be anywhere from 1/2 an hour to 2 hours.

A sluggish economy combined with a weak job market has about 2000 laid off workers filing for unemployment each week.

Year ago it was half of that," said Ellen Kai, an unemployment program specialist.

Ross Wolpin has been on unemployment, off-and-on for the past year.

He says each time his employment status changes it affects his pay period. As a result he hasn't gotten a check in almost one month.

"Because of the delay, because of the economy, because of how many people are in there I had to resort to getting food stamps instead of relying on my unemployment" said Wolpin.

During these uncertain economic times, it's difficult to say when there will be any relief.

"I guess with the economy, the way it's going, and the forecast, there probably would be more individuals claiming unemployment," said Kai.

Adding to the frustration is the time spent away from job hunting.

"I need to get home, back to the computers, keep applying and I don't have 2-3 hours a day to wait here to ask a question, where my checks are," said Wolpin.

Until there's an upswing in the economy, officials are asking people who are looking for jobs to expect long waits to file for unemployment.

There is some good news, Ellen Kai says they are looking to hire more people to staff their phone lines.

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