Unemployed workers in Michigan were going to the state’s website yesterday in big numbers to get registered. No one knows exactly how many were jammed in, but it was enough to crash the system at mid-day. The online system for the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity went down around 11 yesterday morning. State technical crews went to work and had the system back up around 1 pm. The volume of unemployment claims has risen dramatically following the Governor's closings orders affecting thousands of businesses statewide. A department spokesman says the state is handling unprecedented demand for unemployment benefits.

Before the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the state had averaged around 5,000 weekly claims. The most recent statistics put weekly claims at 129,000. During the recession from 2008 into 2009, an average of about 31 thousand claims were filed weekly with the largest number in one week at 77,000. Department technicians say peak demand for online filings is still during normal daytime hours and that people wanting to file may encounter fewer delays and faster computer response times from 8 pm through 8 am.

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