June 17, 2021
For Immediate Release: June 17, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 12
AUGUSTA - For the week ending June 12, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,350 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
Overall unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 1,050 claims from the previous week. About 10,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 11,500 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 15,500 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.
For the same time period, roughly 3,600 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/
Between March 15, 2020 and June 12, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.27 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.27 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.
The Department has handled approximately 263,100 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 112,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.1 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
Work Search Requirement:
The Maine Department of Labor reinstated traditional work search requirements for people receiving unemployment benefits on May 23, 2021.
Work search requirements had been temporarily relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/
Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.
CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at MaineCareerCenter.gov.
Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.
Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.
New Back to Work Program Employer Application Available
On June 14, Governor Mills announced the creation of the new Back to Work program, aimed at getting unemployed Maine people back into the workforce. The employer application for the program is now available, and can be found here along with FAQs: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/back-to-work-grants
The Back to Work program, administered by the Maine Department of Labor and the Department of Economic and Community Development, will provide employers a one-time $1,500 payment for eligible workers who start jobs between June 15 and June 30 or a $1,000 payment for eligible workers who start jobs in July to encourage unemployed Maine people to return to the workforce. The first-come, first-served program will utilize $10 million in Federal funding and could reach up to 7,500 Maine people.
To be eligible, people must:
- Have received unemployment compensation for the week ending May 29, 2021;
- Accept a full-time job that pays less than $25 per hour and remain in the job for a period of at least eight consecutive weeks, and;
- Not receive unemployment compensation during the eight-week period of employment
The program began on June 15, 2021, and applications will be accepted through July 25, 2021. Once the employee has worked for eight weeks, the employer will provide documentation of the completion of the requirement and grant funds will be issued to the employer to be passed through to the employee.
MDOL Launches New Data Tool Showcasing Graduate Earnings in Maine
The Maine Department of Labor's Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) is excited to announce the launch of the Maine Post-Secondary Outcomes Report (MPSO), a MaineEARNS data series that provides the employment and earnings outcomes of graduates from the University of Maine System (UMS) and Maine Community College System (MCCS). We encourage you to explore the new Maine Post-Secondary Outcomes Report with expanded features and newly available data here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/mpso
For ease of navigation, the new MPSO website displays data that can be viewed from different perspectives including by Broad Fields of Study, by Program, by School, and for General Research purposes. The published data is searchable by credential or degree, area of study, and school, displaying aggregated information for cohorts of graduates ensuring individual confidentially.
The data system serves as a platform for understanding what happens to cohorts of students after completing post-secondary credentials and as they progress through the workforce. It can be used to address such questions as: - How many graduates go on to work in Maine? - What do they earn? - How do the wage and employment outcomes for various credentials compare? - In which industries do graduates find employment?
The full press release can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=4983786
Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov
Upcoming hiring event: On July 1, 2021 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event featuring jobs in the Medical/Medical Staffing/Home Care fields. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=4296178
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 June 12, the Department cancelled 981 initial claims and three 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/