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Pa Secretary: Unemployment Comp System Wounded, Bleeding

HARRISBURG, PA (CBS) -- As state budget hearings began last week, the Secretary of Labor and Industry minced no words as she characterized the status of Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation system.

Secretary of Labor and Industry Kathy Manderino appeared before the state House Appropriations Committee. She called the state's unemployment compensation system the 'elephant in the room.'

"Mr. Chairman, we are operating a wounded system. The patient is bleeding out on the gurney."

Manderino said the system was functioning very effectively until mid-December, when a dispute between Senate Republicans and Governor Wolf over state funding for the system led to hundreds of layoffs and the closure of several unemployment call centers.

"We have had wait times on our telephone calls as high as a disgusting six hours – if people can get through."

Manderino said while things have improved a bit recently, the situation is likely to worsen again at the beginning of April when the new quarter begins and more people are eligible.

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