Unemployed Georgians stymied by weekend telephone glitch

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ATLANTA — One of nine phone systems in place to handle some 150,000 weekly unemployment claims has been repaired after being out of service for hours.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond says the system was repaired late Sunday afternoon after a technical glitch caused the circuits to overload. He says eight phone systems usually can handle the calls but that the current volume of people seeking to file unemployment claims is unprecedented.

The Labor Department said on Thursday that the number of Georgians filing first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits was up 80.7 percent from January 2008.

People receiving unemployment compensation from the state must call into the automated system every week to verify they're looking for work. Thurmond says this week's calls started coming in at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. By 1 a.m., claims for 3,000 people had been certified.

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