First-time claims for unemployment in Maine jumped upward, to 2,996, in the week ending Dec. 5.
That was a 55 percent increase over the week before. It was also the highest number of first-time claims since mid-July.
About 1,200 Mainers filed first time claims in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, set up to help freelancers and others who don’t qualify for ordinary state benefits.
Since March 15, the state has paid out over $1.7 billion in benefits under the state and federal programs.