Look Who’s Hiring!

For 39-year-old laid-off working mom Lisa Lopez, it took more than nine months of searching before she landed a new job in Florida. And you’ll never guess where: at the local unemployment office!

There is “soaring demand” in many state agencies that distribute unemployment benefits and try to help laid-off workers.

State employment departments are reporting a doubling of the number of people coming into their offices looking for work.

David Socolow, New Jersey Labor Department commissioner, says his office sees “a lot of pain and a lot of difficulty in the labor market…as wait times are far longer than our customers want or than we want.”

His office has added 44 employees to the 150 who normally review new claims to see if applicants qualify.

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And in Pennsylvania, the state Department of Labor and Industry has a total staffing of about 830 from the department’s usual permanent workforce of 600. By the time the department finishes its hiring, the staff will be nearly doubled to 1,100.

In Massachusetts, first-time claims for unemployment jumped more than 30% from a year ago. In many cases, these people held long-term jobs, never had to seek unemployment before, and “don’t have resumes because they have never needed them.”

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.