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Electronic unemployment filing systems have been crashing in three states or more in recent days as thousands of recently jobless Americans seek benefits, according to an AP report. This comes on the heels of a Reuters story indicating that private-sector employers unloaded 693,000 jobs in December. That figure is based on a report by ADP Employer Services, which further reflects that the employment situation is significantly worse than expected and dims the prospects for an upcoming jobs report, as well.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had, on average, predicted a loss of 473,000 private-sector jobs in December, significantly less than the actual figure. The AP story indicates that currently about 4.5 million Americans are collecting jobless benefits, a 26-year high, which is probably putting an excessive and unexpected strain on the electronic systems.
Alarmingly, an official with a company that developed the job-loss report said he still expected a little more than 2 million U.S. job losses over the next year. These are hardly the first worrying reports regarding unemployment and benefits. In October 2008, various stories surfaced about dwindling unemployment funds in some states. All in all, it seems that as many states states reel from the impact of the ailing economy, as well as their own budget crunches, these problems could re-surface at any time.
Although the AP story indicates that other states are adjusting their systems so that they do not fall victim to the same electronic claims problems, as one worker who lost his job in November said, "It's a bad sign for North Carolina's economy when you've got so many people trying to get into the system and it crashes."