PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — People applying by telephone for unemployment benefits in Rhode Island must wait on hold an average of 51 minutes.
Not only that, but some of them say their benefits are often weeks late, and when they try to speak to a human about the problem, they're referred to a computer.
Why is that? For one thing, the automated system can't handle the volume of calls in Rhode Island, which is tied with Nevada for the highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 10.2 percent.
But also, Rhode Island made the mistake of laying off scores of workers at the call center.
State officials recognize the problem and are rehiring staff members and improving the system.
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