March 25, 2021
For Immediate Release: March 25, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 20
The Department has now paid out over $2 billion in unemployment benefits since March 2020.
AUGUSTA - For the week ending March 20, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,500 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
About 14,650 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,100 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 19,100 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 25, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 245,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 110,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.6 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 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.
Virtual Hiring Events
Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.
The Department has seen some great success with virtual and drive-through hiring events. For example, March 18 and 19 the Department helped hold a drive-through hiring event for Bath Iron Works, which saw over 70 job seekers drive through.
Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 1 from 2-3 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event for Government and Federal Contractor positions to include Federal, State and local municipalities. Job seekers can register by using the online form.
More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov
145 People Hired During the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign
Final results are in, and a total of 145 veterans and military family members were hired during the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign! Responding to the needs of our Veteran and Military Service community, the 2020 campaign was the first one held fully virtual.
The Maine Hire-A-Vet campaign provides support for employers to expand the hiring of veterans through a network of state and federal agencies, resources and nonprofits, education on military language and culture, recruiting and hiring assistance, and recognition for the hiring and advancement of veterans and military family members.
The 2020 campaign kicked off on September 15, 2020 with a virtual hiring fair and ended on December 24, 2020.
The average hourly wage of veterans hired was $23.92, an increase of $1.14 from the 2019 campaign, and 226 employers signed on to the campaign. Fourteen of the sixteen counties in the state had veteran hires in them. Employers also sent 20 staff members to a "Veteran Hiring for Employers" training, which provides a Basic Training approach to aid businesses in recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans.
The five businesses that had the most hires during the 2020 campaign were Bath Iron Works/General Dynamics, Dead River Company, Northern Light Health, MaineGeneral, and the State of Maine.
Full press release: https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=4351630
MDOL Warns Public of Texting, Telegram, 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 and accounts on direct message apps such as Telegram 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.
The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.
The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.
The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.
During the week ending March 20, the Department cancelled 920 initial claims and six weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.
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/
RESEA Program for Unemployed Mainers Restarted this Month
On March 14, the Maine Department of Labor restarted 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.
RESEA is run by MDOL's Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (BUC) and Bureau of Employment Services (BES), with the objective that claimants are unemployed for shorter amounts of time.
Services are delivered through one-on-one meetings held virtually. Selected claimants are notified of their meeting by email and a physical mailed letter.
How does the program work?
Participants are scheduled for a meeting with a skilled CareerCenter staff member for their RESEA appointment. They will work with each participant to help them get back to work faster by better navigating the job market and creating a structured reemployment plan.
What will be covered in the RESEA appointment?
During the appointment participants can expect:
- Help in structuring a job search
- Assistance in completing their Individual Reemployment Plan (IRP)
- Walkthrough of labor market report
- Receiving a targeted list of referrals to resources that can best help them get back to work - Guidance in completing their Maine JobLink profile and using the sites resources and tools
More information: https://www.maine.gov/labor/resea/
All claimants are 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/