Caller waits hit 2 hours at jobless centers, official says

HARRISBURG (AP) — A top state official says callers often waited more than two hours for service in January when they dialed Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation centers.

Labor and Industry Department Secretary Kathy Manderino told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation service system is broken.

Manderino said she laid off 499 workers and closed three call centers in December after the Senate’s Republican majority balked at continuing $57.5 million in state funding for the system.

Department officials have said wait times were under 10 minutes last fall, before the layoffs.

Manderino says she had planned to close one call center, even with continued state funding. Lawmakers say they are working on a short-term solution to fix the system while they develop a long-term solution to fund it.