More Mainers applied for state unemployment benefits last week.

The unemployment rate in Maine dipped below 7% in August, but labor officials warned the jobs picture in the state has been erratic since the start of the pandemic.

The Maine Department of Labor reported on Friday that unemployment rate fell from 9.9% in July to 6.9% in August. The department says in a statement the decrease in unemployment "was partly from an increase in employment, but mostly from a decease in labor force participation."

Unemployment in Maine's three urban areas rose in July.

Maine Public File

Maine will be receiving federal emergency funds to temporarily supplement unemployment benefits for eligible recipients.


The solvency of social security is certain to be a major topic in the upcoming election.  We’ll discuss how and why social security was implemented 85 years ago (When FDR signed legislation enacting Social Security, on 8/14/1935, he said, “We have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”) We’ll learn how the social welfare program is funded, and how the recession/unemployment/the pandemic is impacting current (and future) beneficiaries of the program.

Maine Public

The Maine Department of Labor announced Friday that it is reinstating work search requirements for some individuals receiving employment benefits.

Gabriella Demczuk / AP Images

Both of Maine’s U.S. Senators are casting doubt on the prospects of Congress reaching a speedy agreement on an economic stimulus package, even after benefit programs for unemployed workers and struggling businesses expire.

Good Shepherd Food Bank

The newest COVID-19 stimulus plan that Senate Republicans released Monday would cut supplemental unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 a week. That would impact about 182,000 Mainers, including 46,000 children.

The $1 trillion pandemic relief package Senate Republicans rolled out Monday includes a provision that would cut the current $600-per-week enhanced unemployment benefit down to $200. And then, in October, it would switch to 70 percent of a worker’s prior earnings.

Starting this week, people receiving unemployment benefits may get more money as the state adjusts payments to reflect previous incomes.

There is a new online short-form questionnaire that is designed to help Mainers who have not been able to start an unemployment claim, for any number of reasons.

More Mainers went back to work in June. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the state's unemployment rate fell from 9.3 percent in May to 6.6 percent.

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 latest information about unemployment issues in Maine. We'll discuss the effects of job losses due to the pandemic and whether people are getting back to work. We'll also learn about the latest extension of unemployment benefits, how claims processing is going, and what's happening with the large numbers of fraudulent cases.

The job markets in Maine’s three major urban areas began to recover in May. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released the data Wednesday.