Idaho unemployment claims are running at high volume, with 45,000 active claims as of June 12, thanks to the economic downturn and widespread layoffs, including those in the high-tech sector. Here’s an oddity, though: 60 percent of jobless claims in the first quarter of this year were filed online, as opposed to in-person, the only other choice for initial claims. But the state Department of Labor’s online filing service can be accessed only with Internet Explorer 7. That leaves out those who’ve updated their browsers to the new Internet Explorer 8 (Labor spokesman Bob Fick says a work-around for IE 8 users should be ready “within a couple of weeks”), and, of course, anyone who uses a Mac.
“What we have was developed 15 years ago,” Fick said. At that time, he said, it was determined that only the Microsoft browser could handle a secure session that might stop midway through, then restart later, without the user having to start from scratch inputting data. When the system first was developed, Fick said, 97 percent of users had Internet Explorer. “Now, only about 80 to 85 percent of the people have it,” he said. The department’s tech people are now looking at Firefox and Safari to see what adaptations might be necessary in the online claim-filing system to make it compatible with those browsers. “It’ll be within a year that they’ll have it fixed,” Fick said. “As far as the complaints, there hasn’t been any increase or decrease in complaints. There have been Mac users that have complained all along they can’t get in. Fixing it is a question of money, and of time.”