- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s unemployment call center has experienced a recent spike in wait times that are leaving callers hanging.

The Providence Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1WvJ3c5 ) callers during the weeks ending Jan. 13 and Jan. 27 waited an average of 47 minutes to speak with an operator during the time when DLT Director Scott Jensen says the number of people filing for unemployment peaks.

Jensen says the DLT has recently made moderate improvements to its system, but remaining weaknesses are magnified during the peak season.

DLT spokesman Michael Healey says approximately 20 percent of claimants still use the call center to file for unemployment benefits.

Jensen says the long waits can be attributed to short staffing, new hires and a lack of overtime to handle the increased volume.

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Information from: The Providence Journal, https://www.providencejournal.com

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