Google Creates Unemployment Application Portal for New York State Labor Department

The move is meant to help New York State respond to a surge in unemployment filings.
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Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report said it has created an application portal to help New York State respond to an unprecedented surge in unemployment filings after the economy was shut down by the coronavirus outbreak.

The effort, called “Tech Surge”, is a partnership with Google Cloud, Deloitte, and Verizon  (VZ) - Get Report to improve the reliability of the state’s online and telephone-based unemployment insurance application systems, the New York State Department of Labor said.

"Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the New York State Department of Labor's unemployment insurance filing system has faced an unprecedented increase in volume -- with peak weeks seeing a 16,000% increase in phone calls and a 1,600% increase in web traffic, compared to a typical week," the Labor Department said in a statement.

The site, which can be reached via smartphones, tablets and laptops, is supported by Google’s cloud infrastructure and will allow users to save incomplete applications and pick up where they left off. 

A Google spokesperson told CNBC that the company is partnering with several states on service delivery issues that it hopes will include unemployment insurance processing.

“We continue to work with local, state, and federal agencies on a number of projects to help them better serve citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the spokesperson said.

Google also helped create a coronavirus testing site in the San Francisco Bay Area in mid-March.

More than 450,000 New Yorkers have attempted to apply for unemployment benefits in the past three weeks. Last week, 6.6 million Americans filed for jobless benefits, according to the Labor Department, bringing the most recent three-week total to a staggering 16.8 million. 

New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. The state has reported at least 159,937 total positive cases of Covid-19, 18,079 people currently hospitalized and 7,067 related deaths.

Deloitte is opening an additional unemployment insurance call center, while Verizon is expanding the number of phone “ports” for the Department of Labor’s call center from 1,750 to over 10,000 by the end of this week.

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