Weekly unemployment claims remain at lowest since November 2019

Thu, 10/28/2021 - 9:15am

    AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Labor announced Thursday 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. 

    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.

    During the week ending October 23, the Department cancelled 53 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.