March 11, 2021
For Immediate Release: March 11, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 6
AUGUSTA - For the week ending March 6, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 130 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,000 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
About 16,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,400 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 19,700 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.
Between March 15, 2020 and March 6, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.96 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 242,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 109,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3.5 million weekly certifications filed.
Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .
CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/RDj2Vr are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.
MDOL Warns Public of Texting and Social Media Scams
The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms and text messages.
Scammers are creating social media pages to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help. The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages as they pop up.
For Facebook users, look for the Departments "verified" blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.
Scammers are also texting the public asking them to click links for information about their unemployment benefits. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business via text.
The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media or text, and to report fake social media pages immediately.
MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays
If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.
They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.
Maine Dept. of Labor Restarting RESEA Program for Unemployed Mainers
On March 14, the Maine Department of Labor is restarting the Re-Employment Services and Eligibility & Assessment (RESEA) program. RESEA is a program that provides qualifying Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants with one-on-one coaching and relevant services to help them in their reemployment journey. The Department last offered the program from 2015-2017.
Services will be delivered through one-on-one meetings held virtually. Claimants will be notified of their meeting by email and a physical mailed letter.
If selected to participate in the RESEA program, participation is required for the individual to continue receiving unemployment benefits. Participation in the program would count as the individuals work search activity for that week. Failure to attend their scheduled appointment may result in a denial of unemployment benefits or an overpayment. The Department will work with participants to reschedule appointments due to having a job interview, training, work, jury duty, being sick, etc. They should refer to the RESEA email or letter they received for additional information on how to reschedule.
More information can be found on our website: https://www.maine.gov/labor/resea/ .
CWRI Publishes Occupational Employment Outlook to 2028 Article
On March 5, MDOLs Center for Workforce Research and Information published an article on Maines occupational employment outlook to 2028.
The full article can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/publications/pdf/OccupationalEmploymentOutlookto2028.pdf .
Virtual Hiring Events
Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. The next virtual hiring event is being hosted by Hancock Lumber, who is looking to hire for their Pittsfield location. Their virtual hiring event will be on March 16 from 9 am to 2 pm.
Job seekers can connect one-on-one with a representative from Hancock Lumber by calling or emailing Kevin Raven at 807-6423 or kraven@HancockLumber.com between 9-2 on March 16.
More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .
MDOL Seeking Employer and Jobseeker Input
MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers input. The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either:
- Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services
- Using MDOLs employment and workforce services
We are also looking for feedback from job seekers as we continue making our services easier to use. We are looking for people to share any experiences they might have had with either:
- Using services offered by Maine CareerCenters, including the CareerCenter website, workshops, JobLink, and job fairs.
- Communicating with/hearing from MDOLs Bureau of Employment Services
- Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic
Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30-minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30-minute 1:1 virtual interview.
Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA
Job seekers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/KYYvERYEKPNFuwQa6
The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.
During the week ending March 6, the Department cancelled 512 initial claims and 1 weekly certification suspected to be fraudulent.
Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.
Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.
The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .
Work Search Related Activities Requirement:
Weekly work search related activity requirements are still in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.
In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.
Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time
Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business, or to one of the above activities.
All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/
People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.
More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment .
If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ .