CARES act

Maine's labor leaders are calling on Congress to extend the $600 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit for people out of work because of COVID-19. That benefit is part of the CARES act, and it expires at the end of this month.

The city of Portland is making half a million dollars in CARES Act funds available to help Portland renters affected by COVID-19.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Unemployment benefits have been a lifeline for many people who have lost work because of the pandemic. But the huge federal expansion of the unemployment insurance program under the CARES Act has required states to handle massive increases in applications for both regular unemployment and for new benefits offered to workers who had never before qualified.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Gov. Janet Mills has signed an order shifting up to $270 million in federal CARES act money to bolster the state unemployment trust fund. The move assures that benefits paid through the state unemployment system will continue without having to borrow from the federal government.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public File

Maine's Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says those three sectors have been underserved by the federal pandemic relief programs.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public File

Maine Gov. Janet Mills says that she has taken steps to curtail state expenditures through June in order to get through the remainder of the budget year. But the economic effects of the pandemic will also require plans to deal with hundreds of millions of dollars in lost state revenues in the year to come.

Win McNamee / AP Images

U.S. Republican Sen. Susan Collins was joined by colleagues from both parties in introducing legislation that would provide $500 billion in aid to states and municipalities.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

The pace of first-time claims for unemployment in Maine slowed last week, but at about 13,000, are still well above the numbers before the pandemic, which were generally in the hundreds per week.