Unemployment claims have been flooding into the state Department of Labor, dragging the filing system to a crawl.
“Due to the high volume of claim filing, you may experience some difficulty filing your claim via the Web or by telephone. We apologize for any inconvenience,” the Web site says.
A spokeswoman says the Department of Labor issued 156,673 benefit checks during the week of Dec. 13-19, up nearly 50 percent from 105,431 last year.
The agency has been "incredibly busy" with claims and was "flooded with calls," she said.
Gary Horn, of West Hartford, says he and his wife, who has been unemployed from a playground design company for a year, got through to the Labor Department's automatic filing system after hours of trying.
The system overload comes just a couple days after the state announces that the unemployment rate dropped from 8.8 percent in October to 8.2 percent.