Thursday, July 8, 2010

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Calls for Department of Workforce Development to Hear More Unemployment Compensation Cases

An editorial in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in response to an article by Don Walker about the State's lag in unemployment appeals hearings, criticizes the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Unemployment Insurance Division's speed at which it hears cases and calls for improvement, claiming that it takes too long to hear appeals in unemployment compensation cases. From the editorial:

As the Journal Sentinel's Don Walker has reported, April data from the U.S. Department of Labor showed that the state completes just 7.7% of what are called "lower authority appeals" within 30 days. That is the first step in the appeals process after a claim is rejected. The federal goal is 60%.

Wisconsin ranks 35th in the country, and some unemployed workers have waited months to have their cases heard. The state simply has to do better than that.

While there is little doubt that economic havoc in industrial belt states has pushed unemployment far higher than in less manufacturing-intensive states, Department of Workforce Development officials should have seen this coming and reacted more quickly. Caseloads ballooned last year and have fallen since. During the week of June 27-July 3, for example, the latest week for which statistics were available, more than 14,000 initial unemployment compensation claims were filed with the state compared with 26,201 for the same week a year earlier.

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