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Business and Economy

Data: 2,705 First-Time Unemployment Filers Last Week In Maine

The pandemic continues to put Mainers out of work than average.

The Maine Department of Labor reported Thursday that it received 2,705 first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending Jan. 30. That was down 123 from the number of first-time claims the state received the week before and was the fourth straight weekly decline, which has seen the number of first-time claims shrink from 3,919 on Jan. 2.

But last week’s total was still roughly triple the average number of claims the state was receiving before the pandemic struck, causing restrictions that have forced many businesses to reduce staff or close.

In addition, 487 Mainers filed first-time claims under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program that Congress created to pay benefits to out-of-work freelancers, gig economy workers, such as Uber or Lyft drivers, and others who don’t normally qualify for state unemployment benefits.

The number of Mainers filing for that aid rose by 95 from the week before.