Weekly unemployment claims at lowest since November 2019

Thu, 10/21/2021 - 8:30am

    AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Labor announced Thursday that during week ending October 16 about 3,400 people received an unemployment benefit payment.

    This represents a decrease of about 400 people from last week. This week also had the lowest level of weekly claims since November 2019.

    During the week ending October 16, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, representing a decrease of about 200 claims from the previous week. The Department also recorded 50 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), representing a decrease of about 50 claims from the previous week.

    Initial claims numbers represent claim applications, which are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim, representing a decrease of about 150 people from last week.

    About 4,800 weekly claims were filed last week for state unemployment, representing a decrease of about 600 weekly claims. Another 50 weekly claims were filed under federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which is unchanged 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 4,800 weekly claims filed, about 3,400 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 16, 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 278,750 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,650 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 16, the Department cancelled 47 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.