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Unemployment claims increase after two weeks of decline

The Maine Department of Labor blames seasonal layoffs for the increase in claims.
Credit: Getty

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Labor reports there were about 3,900 initial claims for unemployment and 250 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for the week ending January 2, 2021

This is an increase of about 258 applicants from the previous week. 

According to the MDOL, Maine typically sees increases in state unemployment claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, such as in accommodations, eating and drinking places, construction, landscaping, and temporary help. Some of these industries have seen increased impact due to COVID-19.

When you add people reopening their unemployment claims the number rises to approximately 4,300 claimants. 

About 15,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week, with another 16,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. 

In addition, about 9.200 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

Credit: MDOL

Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

RELATED: US unemployment claims dip to still-high 787,000

MDOL began issuing the additional $300 FPUC payments, that were approved by COVID-19 relief legislation, earlier this week to those receiving unemployment benefits. The first $300 payments were distributed with unemployment benefits for the week ending January 2. Mainers received more than $8.6 million in FPUC January 4-5. 

Between March 15 and January 2, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.7 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 220,550 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 105,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

During the week ending January 2, the Department canceled 134 initial claims and 5 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.