April 8, 2021
For Immediate Release: April 8, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 3
AUGUSTA - For the week ending April 3, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,100 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,000 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
The increase in state unemployment initial claims is due to layoffs in Retail Trade, Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services, and Accommodations and Food Services industries as well as seasonal layoffs in Skiing and Logging industries. Part of the increase is from claimants qualifying for a new benefit year after at least a one-week break in filing a weekly claim. A claimant's benefit year is the 52-week period after they file an initial claim. For example, if someone filed their initial claim in March 2020, their benefit year would end in March 2021 and a new one would need to be established if they are eligible to collect state unemployment benefits.
About 15,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,400 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,800 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 April 3, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 249,100 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 110,550 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.7 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/T6PZ_n 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.
CWRI Publishes Article on Pandemics Impact on Telework
MDOLs Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) has published an article titled "Maines Labor Market During the Pandemic: Impact on Telework."
This article is the third published by CWRI about Maines labor market during the pandemic. It focuses on how the pandemic has impacted telework.
The article can be found here: https://cwri1.blogspot.com/2021/04/maines-labor-market-during-pandemic.html
ReEmployME Updates for Account Security:
As part of MDOLs ongoing user experience improvement initiative and fraud prevention measures, when a claimant next updates their account details, such as their password, payment information, or contact details, they will receive a confirmation email. This is to alert them of changes made to their account and confirm that they are the ones who changed the information. If they receive the confirmation email, they do not need to contact MDOL unless they did not make these changes.
Claimants will also be asked to choose and answer a few security questions when they next log-in to file their weekly claim, as part of our ongoing fraud prevention measures.
Virtual Hiring Events
Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.
Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 15 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event featuring jobs in the Information Technology/Telecommunications fields. Job seekers can register by using the online form. More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov
MDOL Warns Public of Texting, Telegram, and Social Media Scams
The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammers 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 - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft 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 April 3, the Department cancelled 695 initial claims and one weekly claim 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/
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/
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: 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/