The Oregon Department of Employment’s website for publishing economic data was taken offline over the weekend, apparently because the state neglected to renew its domain name registration.
The loss of Oregon’s qualityinfo.org page did not affect unemployment claims, which are managed on a separate website. After an investigation by The Oregonian / OregonLive on Monday, the department said it had now renewed the domain name and said the site would be back online that evening. (Update: The website did come back on Monday afternoon.)
But the blackout is another embarrassing technology gap for the department, which repeatedly stumbled in 2020 amid a flood of jobless claims triggered by the pandemic.
Qualityinfo.org hosts the employment department’s monthly announcement on the state’s unemployment rate (it is due to announce the May rate on Tuesday), information on regional economic conditions, and analysis by economists in the department. Businesses, legislators and others use the data to make decisions about strategy and policy.
“QualityInfo.org is an important resource for researchers, policy makers and the general public,” the employment department said in a statement. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. “
Technical problems are endemic to the employment service, which relies on an outdated computer system from the 1990s to process and pay unemployment claims. The old system is the main reason Oregon was among the slowest in the country to pay unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
Oregon received $ 86 million in federal aid to modernize its technology in 2009, but years of management failures within the Employment Department have prevented the state from making the upgrade.
The state signed a contract with Colorado-based FAST Enterprises last month to finally upgrade the computer. The ministry has announced plans to bring the new system, which totals $ 96 million to $ 117 million, online in 2024.
– Mike Rogoway | Twitter: @rogoway |