Maine surpasses $1 billion in unemployment benefits paid during pandemic

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 9:45am

AUGUSTA — For the week ending July 4, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,800 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 2,300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), according to a news release. These claims represent about 2,800 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 62,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment.

In addition, about 24,700 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and July 4, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.03 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

By comparison, the Department paid out nearly $73.9 million in unemployment benefits in 2019.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department has paid out over $1 billion dollars in state and federal unemployment benefits,” Commissioner Laura Fortman said. “Infusing $1 billion dollars into the Maine economy has been a lifeline for both workers and communities.”

From March 15 to July 4 period, the Department has handled approximately 168,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 77,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

There have been about 1.6 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision, per the release. The official unemployment rate and accompanying economic data for June will be released on July 17, which will give a clearer picture of the state’s economy.