Job Service-North Dakota has been working to process unemployment claims, as that number nears the 50,000 mark.
Bryan Klipfel is the director of both Job Service and Workforce Safety. He said at the peak demand, Job Service was processing 2500 claims a day. He said that’s slowed a bit – to around 1500 claims a day.
"Before this pandemic started, we were getting 80 claims a day," Klipfel said in an interview.
Added to that are the new federal programs for relief because of the pandemic – including the extra $600 under the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
"We had to do some reporgramming of our main system to accomodate those," Klipfel said. "That's what's been taking a little bit more time."
Klipfel said Job Service was also waiting for guidance from the federal Department of Labor.
"That guidance has come," Klipfel said. "So we're trying to get these programs implemented as fast as we can. We undestand some of the customers need this badly, to help pay bills."
Klipfel said those $600 payments should be getting out this week.
Klipfel also said the increased work load has strained existing Job Service staff.
"Our business at Workforce Safety and Insurance has slowed a little bit," Klipfel said. "So we've taken some of that staff and redirected them to Job Service."
Klipfel said some of the WSI staff came from Job Service, anyway.