Weekly unemployment claims at lowest level since December 2019

Thu, 10/14/2021 - 8:30am

    AUGUSTA — During the week ending October 9, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 800 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    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.

    Initial unemployment claims typically begin to increase during this time of year due to seasonal layoffs, according to the Department.

    The initial claims numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 950 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

    About 5,400 weekly claims were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 100 weekly claims filed under PUA. In addition, about 50 weekly claims were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

    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. Eligibility for benefits is determined on a weekly basis, and so not all weekly claims filed result in a benefit payment. During week ending October 9, about 3,800 people received an unemployment benefit payment. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

    For the same time period, roughly 800 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. 

    Between March 15, 2020 and October 9, 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 278,200 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,600 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.

    During the week ending October 9, the Department cancelled 51 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.