MAINE, USA — This Maine Department of Labor released unemployment claims data for the week of March 15-21. According to their report, there were 21,459 initial claims filed that week, compared to 634 initial claims during the previous week.

Here are the most affected industry sectors:

Accommodation and Food Services: 7,965 claims

Health Care and Social Assistance: 3,588 claims

Manufacturing: 1,131 claims

Retail Trade: 1,103 claims

(Note from MDOL: Claims data is released each Thursday for the previous week. These are preliminary figures which will be revised in the near future to include additional claims that are retroactively effective for last week.)

“We, along with the rest of the country, are doing everything we can to respond to this historic number of unemployment claims and the questions that come with them,” Commissioner Laura Fortman said. “We know that the partial wage replacement that unemployment benefits provide is a lifeline for families, as well as an economic stabilizer for our local communities in these uncertain times.”

Maine Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Program provides partial wage replacement for workers who experience job layoff, loss or reduction in hours through no fault of their own. 

Those who are unsure if they are eligible for unemployment benefits are encouraged to apply. MDOL will review information provided by both the applicant and the employer to make a case-by-case determination about eligibility. It is best to apply online, using a computer; the system is available 24/7 at www.maine.gov/unemployment.

RELATED: How to file for unemployment in Maine if your job has been affected by coronavirus

If you need to apply by phone you can call 1-800-593-7660 between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Monday-Friday.  Because so many Mainers have been impacted, the phone queue fills quickly. The Department encourages people to keep trying. For simple questions or for password resets, you can also call your nearest CareerCenter.

The data can be found at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus

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