Many out-of-work Tennesseans rely on the state's unemployment hotline for questions about their benefits. But recently some say their calls have gone unanswered. Nashville's News 2 has received complaints from people who dialed the hotline this week but couldn't get anyone to answer the phone.In an email one viewer wrote, "For the last three days I have been trying to talk to an actual person, which I have found is an impossible task."The woman said she waited at least 90 minutes each time she called. Others job seekers at the Tennessee Career Center said they had encountered similar problems.
"They keep telling you to call back and call back and call back and you get the same results, it's very frustrating," said Makeba Little.
Nashville's News 2 contacted the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to find out why no one is picking up the phone at the unemployment office.A spokesperson said many calls went unanswered Tuesday because the Nashville claims center was evacuated due to smoke from an air conditioner unit.
The Knoxville Claims Center was off-line for several hours last week due to a router issue.
Call volume is also up this month, according to the spokesperson.
The average wait time is around one hour but callers are encouraged to use the self-help features to check the status of new claims. People are also urged to file online if possible.
The department acknowledges the gap in customer service but says it is making improvements.