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Business and Economy

Unemployment Claims Tick Upward In Maine

First-time claims for state unemployment benefits rose last week, after falling the previous two weeks.

The state Labor Department reported 1,465 people filed first-time claims for benefits in the week ending Saturday, Oct. 17. That was an increase of 131 over the week before,

The number of Mainers turning to the federal government for help has also risen. Congress created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to pay benefits to freelancers, gig economy workers and others who don’t qualify for state benefits. The federal Labor Department says 728 Mainers filed for the first time for claims under that program, up from 517 first-time claims the week before.