Vt. unemployment skyrocketing; PUA hotline getting more staff

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) All that effort to crush the curve of COVID-19 has sent Vermont's unemployment rate skyrocketing.

The labor commissioner on Friday estimated that it's between 20% and 23%.

About 5,800 Vermonters have applied for PUA-- that's the unemployment system designed specifically for the self-employed and independent contractors.

That program just went live on Wednesday and has its own designated call center.

The labor department says it has 55 people there answering phones now and there will be another 15 operators by Monday.

If you need to call that hotline, it is open Saturday. The number is 877-660-7782.