November 4, 2021
For Immediate Release: October 23, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 23
Weekly claims are at the lowest level since November 2019
AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor announced today that during week ending October 23 about 3,300 people received an unemployment benefit payment. This represents a decrease of about 100 people from last week. Weekly claims are at the lowest level since November 2019.
During the week ending October 23, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, as well as about 60 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
Initial claims numbers represent claim applications, which are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 800 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
About 4,500 weekly claims were filed last week for state unemployment, representing a decrease of about 300 weekly claims. About 10 weekly claims were filed under federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a decrease of about 40 weekly claims 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 4,500 weekly claims filed, about 3,300 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 23, 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 279,450 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,700 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 was released 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 is 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 .
Openings Available in The Competitive Skills Scholarship Program (CSSP)
The Competitive Skills Scholarship Program (CSSP) provides funding and support services for eligible Maine residents to pursue two and four-year degree programs or employer recognized credentials leading to high-wage, in-demand jobs in Maine.
For more information and how to apply, visit: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/cssp.shtml
Enhancing Online Services
Mainers adapted quickly to online work and services during the pandemic. In recognition that many people find it easier to interact with the Department virtually, MDOL will be establishing a virtual CareerCenter where job seekers and employers can go for all things related to work and the workforce. The virtual CareerCenter will be in addition to the 12 physical CareerCenters located across the state.
MDOL has been awarded a $2.9 million 'CAREER (Comprehensive and Accessible Reemployment through Equitable Employment Recovery) National Dislocated Worker Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor - https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210929 . This grant will help connect job seekers to employment as the economy continues its recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
This new tool will expand access to services for job seekers and employers most adversely affected by the COVID pandemic. Emphasis will be on ensuring the platform includes the digital improvements necessary to reach Maines most vulnerable populations by providing easy to navigate, customer-centric, access to services. Digital improvements will be designed to intentionally expand reach to historically marginalized unemployed populations.
Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: www.mainecareercenter.gov
Upcoming hiring event: On November 18, 2021 from 1 p.m. 4 p.m., the Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign will host a virtual hiring event. This three-hour event will feature employers in the northern part of the state during the first hour, employers in the central Maine area in the second hour and employers from the southern region in the third hour. Advance registration is required.
More information, and how to register, can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5404744
Customized Employment Connection Job Fairs - MDOLs CareerCenters are holding targeted Customized Employment Connection hiring events. This involves assessing job seeker skills, employment goals, and demographic regions and utilizing this information to actively explore current employer pools to find compatible matches between the two for possible job match opportunities. Using the information we gain from the job seeker, along with employer information and their open positions, we work with the two to create customized opportunities for conversation on possible employment. Upcoming job fairs can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/
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 23, the Department cancelled 53 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/