unemployment

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.

www.scootergenius.com

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.

While most of the news about the number of jobs lost in Maine has been troubling, May figures from the Department of Labor (DOL) showed a small glimmer of good news.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

A half-dozen Republican members of the Maine House of Representatives are calling for a special session of the legislature to deal with spending and other issues related to the pandemic.

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.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

After soaring in April to 10.4%, Maine’s unemployment rate retreated last month to 9.3%. The Maine Department of Labor reported Friday that private sector employers added 18,400 jobs, as pandemic restrictions on business began to ease, allowing some business activity to resume.

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