Michigan To Cut Staff At Unemployment Offices

LANSING (AP) – The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency says it’s preparing to lay off 255 permanent full-time employees.

The scheduled Oct. 1 layoffs come on the heels of Aug. 31 layoffs of more 177 part-time temporary workers who were brought in to relieve congestion at the height of the recession.

The Detroit News says the staffing cuts leave about 800 employees, including about 100 answering phones at the agency’s Lansing Call Center.

Critics say the reductions have caused customer inconvenience. State officials say technology and online services will streamline operations, and the 432 layoffs will save $35 million annually

Agency officials say federal funding cuts prompted the staff reductions.

The number of Michigan jobless workers peaked at 537,000 in June 2009. As of Aug. 31, there were 167,348 workers receiving jobless benefits.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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