unemployment claims

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public File

Thousands of Mainers have reported problems in trying to obtain unemployment. Thousands of other Mainers have had unemployment claims fraudulently filed without their knowledge since late May. The pandemic caused a sudden spike not just in real claims, but in fraud as well.

Maine Public's Jennifer Mitchell talked about these issues with Kim Smith, the deputy commissioner for the Maine Department of Labor.

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.

Nearly 3,000 more Mainers filed first-time claims for unemployment in the week ending June 13, according to Maine’s Labor Department.

Maine’s top financial officials say state revenues are doing better than expected overall, but warn that the loss of revenue is still significant and will pose some serious policy questions for the Governor and the legislature.

Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public

The Maine Department of Labor has identified and cancelled some 2,200 unemployment claims determined to be fraudulent. 

An effort to fill 1000 production and manufacturing jobs in Southern Maine continues amid a time of record unemployment —10.6 percent in the month of April.

Roughly 11,500 Mainers made their first-time claims for unemployment benefits from state and federal assistance programs last week.