MAINE, USA — Millions of Americans lose unemployment benefits Monday, including 21,500 Mainers
This comes as three of the federal pandemic assistance programs are running out.
"The situation in many cases is desperate," Loretta Morse Leighton, a counselor in Bath, said.
She said about a quarter of her clients have been faced with unemployment during the pandemic.
"[It was] somewhat accidental how that happened but it's been eye-opening," she said.
Morse Leighton's clients aren't the only Mainers dealing with this problem, although more and more people have been returning to the workforce, according to the Maine Department of Labor.
"We've seen people steadily go back to work this entire summer," Maine DOL spokeswoman Jessica Picard told NEWS CENTER Maine.
Still, thousands of people are out of work and experts say one of the main reasons is a lack of childcare.
"Reliable, affordable childcare in every corner of our state is a massive issue to help working people get back into the workforce," Maine AFL-CIO executive director Matt Schlobohm said.
That means many parents are forced to stay home.
It's estimated that during the pandemic 27,600 jobs were lost by women and 21,800 were lost by men.
Childcare isn't the only factor keeping people at home. Lack of transportation and lack of opportunity in a specific area of the state are problems, and some people are still concerned about the virus itself.
The Maine Department of Labor offers resources, including local career centers, to people dealing with these barriers.
There are career centers across the state:
Augusta: 45 Commerce Drive
Bangor: 45 Oak St., Suite 3
Brunswick: 29 Sewall St.
Calais: One College Drive
Hinkley: 23 Stanley Road
Lewiston: 5 Mollison Way
Machias: 53 Prescott Drive, Suite 1
Portland: 151 Jetport Blvd.
Presque Isle: 66 Spruce St., Suite 1
Rockland: 91 Camden St., Suite 201
Springvale: 9 Bodwell Court
Wilton: 865 US Route 2E