Alabama Department of Labor feeling impact of furloughs
In Alabama, thousands of government workers are feeling the impact of the shutdown. It is evident at the Alabama Department of Labor. Over the past two days, the number of unemployment claims for federal employees jumped by more than 2,000 percent.
Tom Surtees, the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor, says he anticipates another busy week come Monday.
"the first two days we had about four-hundred claims from federal employees that had been laid off," said Surtees.
Surtees says Alabama unemployment offices have been in rare form for the past two days. He didn't expect today to be any different. "This morning we're seeing it going at about the same pace, over several hundred in one day we're expecting to have today," he said.
The claims process for federal employees takes a little longer than other employees. But Surtees says the department is prepared for what he anticipates will be another busy week come Monday. "We are setting something up on the web base so instead of being on hold and calling in we'll have the web base application so we'll be prepared for the volume we'll have," said Surtees.
The website will likely come in handy if the shutdown drags on. At the Alabama National Guard's 117th air fueling wing, about 150 men and women have been furloughed. A statement released by Executive Officer, Maj. Lisa Weaver says in part approximately 85 percent of all flying operations at 117th are canceled.
Another company, United Technologies, has employees in Alabama who produce Black Hawk helicopters. It has also released a statement which says nearly 2,000 Sikorsky workers expected to be placed on furlough Monday, October 7th.
The U.S. Army Aviation Center in Fort Rucker, Alabama has a statement on its website advising the commissary is closed. "Certainly something of this magnitude is not something that we deal with every day but we'll work through it and see to it that these employees get the benefits that they deserve," said Surtees.