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'Programming error' delays payout of unemployment insurance benefits to 1,750 jobless

As a single mother with two kids who was laid off five months ago, Janice Peppe of Palm Harbor counts the days until her next unemployment insurance benefit arrives.

This week, because of what state officials describe as a "programming error," she's still counting those days.

Peppe and 1,750 other jobless Floridians will have to wait an extra week to receive their latest unemployment installment.

Typically, unemployment accounts are credited every other Friday and recipients can use their debit cards to access the funds starting the following Monday. Because of the Columbus Day holiday, the money was supposed to be available the next business day, Tuesday. But a programming error delayed the posting date.

Robby Cunningham, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said the money should be available Friday.

The programming problem has been corrected for future payments that fall around bank holidays, Cunningham said.

Relatively few of the 410,000 Floridians on unemployment were affected.

But that's little comfort to Peppe.

"So I'm supposed to just not feed my kids for a few more days because (they) have a glitch in (their) system?" Peppe said. "Times are hard enough to begin with."

Job openings fall

Companies and governments posted 3.1 million job openings in August, down from 3.2 million in July, the Labor Department said Wednesday, the first drop in four months. There's heavy competition for each job, with an average of 4.6 unemployed workers competing for each opening. That's worse than July, when the ratio was 4.3. In a healthy economy, the ratio is roughly 2 to 1. Total openings are well above the 2.1 million that were available in July 2009, which was one month after the recession officially ended. But they are far below the 4.4 million jobs advertised in December 2007, when the recession began.

Associated Press

'Programming error' delays payout of unemployment insurance benefits to 1,750 jobless 10/12/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:39am]
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