Maine Department of Labor Releases Initial and Weekly Unemployment Claims Data for Week Ending April 11 Bookmark and Share

April 16, 2020

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2020

Maine Department of Labor Releases Initial and Weekly Unemployment Claims Data for Week Ending April 11

AUGUSTA - Initial claims for unemployment compensation totaled 13,400 in the week ending April 11, down from 30,900 the previous week. In the last four weeks initial claims totaled 89,500, the most ever for a four-week period. Continued claims for the week totaled 55,700, a new record high, up from 41,300 the prior week.

Initial claims totaled about 30,900 and 23,700 for the previous two weeks. Continued claims for the week increased to 55,692 from the previous week's 41,300. Claims data is preliminary, subject to revision. Data on claims, the balance of the trust fund, and other information is available at

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused significant economic hardship for Maine people and job losses across the state, particularly in the food services and lodging, health care and social assistance, retail trade, manufacturing, and entertainment and recreation sectors.

"Unemployment benefits provide a lifeline to people who are out of work for reasons beyond their control. The benefits are often used to pay rents, utilities, and for groceries and other basic necessities. These dollars that are spent in our communities help to support the local businesses. In the last four weeks, the department has paid out over $46 million in benefits," said Commissioner Laura Fortman. In addition to the state unemployment benefits, next weeks payments will also include the additional $600 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits.

The Department of Labor recommends that people file their claims online with a computer as opposed to a smartphone and do so in the evening when internet traffic is less. The Department has implemented an alphabetical call in schedule to help reduce phone line congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process claims. Last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday, I-Q on Tuesday; and R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are left unassigned for those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.

As the Department continues to expand the number of people taking calls, the call-in hours have been extended to 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Those who are unable to connect with a claims representative by calling 1-800-593-7660 before 3 p.m. Monday through Friday should submit a message at

The Department of Labor continues to implement solutions to the challenges created by the sudden and unprecedented levels of questions and claims to meet the needs of Maine people. Claims staff are working over the weekend to process applications and are contacting claimants who have errors on their applications. The department has also contracted with a Maine-based center to provide first level claims assistance. Starting this week, 100 people are answering calls, up from 14 a month ago. The online unemployment system, which Maine implemented a few years ago, is performing as designed and is available 24/7.

For more information and resources, visit the Departments COVID-19 page: Follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.