Maine sets new weekly record for new unemployment claims, state says

The Maine Department of Labor announced Thursday that 30,900 people filed initial claims for unemployment over the week ending April 4.The state has received 76,000 initial claims over the past three weeks.To put the numbers in perspective, state officials said there were about 35,000 initial claims for unemployment in all of 2019 in Maine.“There are an unprecedented number of claims being filed, and staff continue to work tirelessly to process claims as quickly as possible. Last week, over 10 million dollars in benefits were distributed to laid off Maine workers,” Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said.This week’s initial unemployment claims are the highest weekly total on record. Initial claims totaled about 23,700 and 21,500 the previous two weeks. Earlier this week, tens of thousands of unemployment benefit payments were delayed because of the extremely high volume of claims.The delay was caused by a change in the state’s financial institution for processing. Several people contacted WMTW News 8 on Tuesday saying they had not received payment. Others have said they are still having issues getting through on the phone and on the department’s website.On Monday, the labor department switched to a new alphabetical call-in schedule based on a person’s last name in hopes of alleviating long wait times.

The Maine Department of Labor announced Thursday that 30,900 people filed initial claims for unemployment over the week ending April 4.

The state has received 76,000 initial claims over the past three weeks.

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To put the numbers in perspective, state officials said there were about 35,000 initial claims for unemployment in all of 2019 in Maine.

“There are an unprecedented number of claims being filed, and staff continue to work tirelessly to process claims as quickly as possible. Last week, over 10 million dollars in benefits were distributed to laid off Maine workers,” Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said.

This week’s initial unemployment claims are the highest weekly total on record.

Initial claims totaled about 23,700 and 21,500 the previous two weeks.

Earlier this week, tens of thousands of unemployment benefit payments were delayed because of the extremely high volume of claims.

The delay was caused by a change in the state’s financial institution for processing.

Several people contacted WMTW News 8 on Tuesday saying they had not received payment. Others have said they are still having issues getting through on the phone and on the department’s website.

On Monday, the labor department switched to a new alphabetical call-in schedule based on a person’s last name in hopes of alleviating long wait times.