The state Department of Labor will staff its telephone call centers for filing unemployment claims from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday, which are state holidays, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said today.

“Despite some early signs of improvement in the economy, our state continues to struggle with record unemployment levels – and we continue to do all we can to help those struggling to find jobs,” Rell said. “Each week approximately $60 million in benefits are being provided to more than 160,000 unemployed people.”

The Rell administration added staff to the call centers after complaints that the newly unemployed could not get through and file for benefits.The call centers extended their hours and are open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays. Claims are 40 percent higher than this time a year ago.

The administration also has added five servers to speed up the state’s online filing system.

“On-line filers are now able to complete their transactions in as little as one or two minutes, while the wait time on the phone has decreased to an average of six minutes,” Rell said.

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