Weekly claims unemployment compensation hit lowest since March 2020

Thu, 09/02/2021 - 8:45am

    AUGUSTA — For the week ending August 28, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 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 900 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

    Overall, weekly unemployment claims continue to decrease, with almost 300 fewer claims filed last week than the week before that. The number of weekly claims filed were the lowest since March 2020.

    About 7,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 8,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,400 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 2,800 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.

    Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end September 4. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of job fairs 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.

    Between March 15, 2020 and August 28, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.4 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

    The Department has handled approximately 274,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.4 million weekly certifications filed.

    During the week ending August 28, the Department cancelled 96 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.