AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – New unemployment claims rose again in Maine despite an increase in hiring around the country.
The Maine Department of Labor reported 2,100 initial claims for state unemployment insurance for the week that ended April 3. That was an increase from 1,600 claims the previous week.
However, the agency also reported 200 initial claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance during the same week. That number decreased from 400 the previous week. The total number of people who filed an initial claim or reopened a claim rose from 2,400 to 3,000.
The labor department said the increase in unemployment claims in Maine is due to layoffs in sectors such as retail trade and food services. Seasonal layoffs in sectors such as skiing also played a role, the department said.
The labor department said it has paid more than $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic.
Maine’s unemployment rate was 4.8% for February, which was more than it was in February 2020, but less than the national rate of 6.2%.
In other pandemic news in Maine:
Limits on event attendance in the state are due to ease on May 24. Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah said there are no plans to change that at the moment.
Large gatherings are limited to 50% of permitted occupancy, five people per 1,000 square feet or 50 people, whichever is greatest. Those figures are set to increase on May 24 to 75% of permitted occupancy, five persons per 1,000 square feet, or 50 people, whichever is greatest.
The limit on outdoor gatherings has been 75% of permitted occupancy, and is set to expand to full capacity on May 24.
“There is no plan or even discussion of changing it right now. But it’s five weeks away and in pandemic time that is decades,” Shah said.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.