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Less Than 1 Percent Of Calls About Unemployment Answered By DWD

Report: More Than 41M Calls Made From March Through June, 38.3M Didn't Reach Call Centers

Unemployment insurance claims office
Bytemarks (CC-BY)

Less than 1 percent of calls from Wisconsinites who lost their jobs were answered by the state Department of Workforce Development during the coronavirus pandemic.

A new analysis from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau found that of more than 41 million phone calls from mid-March to the end of June, 38.3 million didn’t reach the call centers because they were either blocked or received busy signals.

About 6 percent of calls were abandoned by individuals before speaking with someone at the call center. And just 0.5 percent of calls were answered at all.

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The release of the audit comes a week after Gov. Tony Evers fired Caleb Frostman, the agency’s secretary, because of the months-long backlog of unemployment insurance claims. In the report, the bureau recommended DWD modify reports to include the total number of phone calls in which people were unable to reach the call centers.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent in August, down from 7.1 percent in July.