Maine Unemployment Claims Soar As Coronavirus Spreads

Mar 26, 2020

The number of Mainers applying for unemployment jumped by more than 30 times last week, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

As the economy began to shut down, more than 21,000 Mainers filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending March 21.  The week before, that number was just 634.

About a third of last week's applications came from hotel or food workers, as travel all but ceased and Gov. Janet Mills ordered restrictions on restaurant operations. There was also a jump in Health Care and Social assistance workers. 

It's likely even more people will apply for unemployment this week, as more businesses are expected to scale back.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate has approved a rescue package that would expand unemployment benefits to freelancers and workers in the so-called "gig" economy.  The U.S. House is expected to take the measure up Friday.