JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – States around the country have seen a spike in unemployment claims since the beginning of the government shutdown and Missouri has adjusted its claims system just to keep up.
Missouri Department of Labor spokesman Tom Bastian says last week’s 10.4 percent rise in unemployment claims filed is the highest he has ever seen and businesses affected by the federal government contribute to the spike.
“Like if there’s a restaurant right near a federal building and employees usually come out and eat at that restaurant. Cases like that,” he said.
Bastian says the spike has forced his department to adjust.
“We’ve decided to extend our hours of operation for the regional claims centers. We’ll be extending those from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” he said. Centers will also be open on Columbus Day.
Just under one million Missouri workers were furloughed by the federal government shutdown.
Other states have seen similar jumps in claims filed. Arkansas officials say almost all 835 people who filed claims last week were furloughed federal workers and Kansas officials say they are receiving ten times more phone calls than normal about unemployment benefits.