Surge in unemployment prompts longer wait for benefits

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Increase in benefit wait times

PHOENIX - Arizonans who've lost their jobs will have to wait nearly a month to receive their first unemployment benefits.

Normally they would have waited 10 days. The increased wait times are due to the surge in applicants and a lack of workers processing claims.

Last week, the state received more than 9,100 first-time unemployment claims. That's up more than 125 percent from the roughly 4,000 first-time claims filed in the same week a year earlier.

In September, claims rose 40 percent over the number of claims in September 2007.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security says it will be adding eight employees during the next few weeks after hiring 70 in the past few months to handle additional claims.