October 16, 2021
For Immediate Release: October 16, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 16
Weekly claims are at the lowest level since November 2019
AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor announced today that during week ending October 16 about 3,400 people received an unemployment benefit payment. This represents a decrease of about 400 people from last week. This week also had the lowest level of weekly claims since November 2019.
During the week ending October 16, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, representing a decrease of about 200 claims from the previous week. The Department also recorded 50 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), representing a decrease of about 50 claims from the previous week.
Initial claims numbers represent claim applications, which are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim, representing a decrease of about 150 people from last week.
About 4,800 weekly claims were filed last week for state unemployment, representing a decrease of about 600 weekly claims. Another 50 weekly claims were filed under federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which is unchanged from the previous week.
Not all weekly claims filed result in a benefit payment because eligibility is determined on a weekly basis, with certifications filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits. Of the 4,800 weekly claims filed, about 3,400 people received an unemployment benefit payment.
Weekly claims are filed after the end of the actual week. Therefore, the claims filed this week for the federal PUA and PEUC programs were for weeks ending September 4 or earlier. The PUA initial claims were those that were originally filed under the regular state program in a prior week, subsequently found ineligible for state unemployment, and then moved to the PUA program. These PUA claims have an effective date prior to the close of the program.
For the same time period, roughly 800 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. Claimants who are working part-time and working back to their full hours may be eligible for partial benefits. 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 October 16, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.49 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.88 billion of the $2.49 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.
The Department has handled approximately 278,750 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,650 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.5 million weekly certifications filed.
Please note that beginning in November MDOL will transition back to its pre-COVID practice of only publicly posting its unemployment claims numbers on its website every Thursday at 8:30 a.m., which coincides with the posting of national claims numbers. The information can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .
In addition, the official state unemployment rate is released each month. September's information will be released tomorrow morning, October 22. The state unemployment rate is different than unemployment insurance claims and is a better indicator of ongoing economic and labor market conditions. It will be available on our website here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus.html .
Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html
New CWRI article From Unemployment to Reemployment in 2020
The Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) has published a new article titled From Unemployment to Reemployment in 2020. It examines the status of claimants for unemployment compensation from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of 2020. The full publication can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/publications/pdf/Unemployment_Reemployment.pdf
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 October 28, 2021 from 10 a.m. - noon, the Southern Midcoast CareerCenter in Brunswick will host an outdoor hiring event, featuring a variety of local employers and industries. More information, including participating employers, can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5653454
Individuals receiving unemployment are 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 - https://joblink.maine.gov/ , to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.
The Department recommends that jobseekers take advantage of CareerCenter services. 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 atMaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.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 - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . 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 - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , 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.
Fraud Update - FBI False Unemployment Website PSA
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a Public Service Announcement to help the public identify and report false unemployment websites: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/Y2021/PSA211015 . Cyber criminals have created these spoofed websites to collect personal and financial data from US victims. These spoofed websites imitate the appearance of and can be easily mistaken for legitimate websites offering unemployment benefits.
The U.S. Department of Labor has a 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 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 October 16, the Department cancelled 47 initial 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/