Unemployment Unemployment 

On Tuesday, Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman appeared before the Appropriations Committee, whichwas in the second day of hearings to address a $140 million budget shortfall.

Some lawmakers say they’ve been flooded with calls from constituents who’ve lost their jobs and can’t get through to the Labor Department. Legislators asked why the state’s not filling more federally funded labor positions to deal with the wave of calls.

Governor John Baldacci’s office acknowledges that some federally funded Labor Department positions are frozen due to the governor’s moneysaving curtailment order. But officials add that the administration has added 24 more people to take unemployment claims since the fall.