Number of unemployment claims in Hawaii jumps after the holidays

Hawaii Is Hiring campaign aims to help those impacted by pandemic

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state’s unemployment system is still struggling to keep up with and process claims.

The weekly number of initial claims is up by more than 500 this week as many families in Hawaii are working to overcome the financial burden of the holidays.

Many unemployment claimants are having trouble with the Pandemic Emergency Compensation (PEUC) benefit.

After exhausting their regular unemployment benefits, they had to file for the PEUC, and depending on whether or not that happened before the deadline of December 26th made a big difference.

If those benefits were exhausted after the deadline, claimants had to wait for the second PEUC 11-week extension, and that program hasn’t launched yet, leaving many people without any source of income.

This week, state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Anne Perreira-Estaqiuo gave an update to the state’s legislative committee on finance.

She said DLIR is making some cuts in order to maintain the vital services they provide. It’s reducing the budget for the workforce development division and the community services division.

DLIR is also eliminating positions in the Hawaii Civil Rights division within the department.

“The workforce development division as well as the workforce development council are working with different avenues to help our community look for jobs outside of their normal method of services — one is teleworking,” Perreira-Estaqiuo said.

“There have been some initiatives already within the community to have individuals, not only individuals who are here but students who went away and now they’re coming back home who can actually work for businesses on the mainland but work here in Hawaii.”

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