Toll of shutdown takes shape: Nearly 20,000 unemployment claims filed in a single day

Updated: Mar. 24, 2020 at 3:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As tourism comes to a standstill and businesses close, some 19,534 people filed for unemployment in Hawaii on Monday ― setting a single-day record.

While the number is jaw dropping, it does show the changes the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations made to the system over the weekend are finally working.

Earlier, the system was overwhelmed and thousands reported being unable to file claims.

The online form that launched Monday is working much more smoothly.

Director Scott Murakami says he is now trying to hire 23 more people in the next week or two to prevent another bottleneck in the next step, “We’re setting up our next line of defense which is actual claims processing. Part of that is that the learning process takes a long time."

The additional 23 would bring the claims office up to 68, last week Monday it was at just seven workers.

Murakami says he knows the now unemployed will be waiting for their benefit checks and reallocating resources is the only way to accommodate the massive wave of jobless claims they’re expecting during the lockdown.

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