Thursday, December 2, 2021

Maine labor officials, business owners react as federal unemployment benefits end

BREWER, Maine (WABI) – This Labor Day weekend, hundreds of Mainers should head again to work – or misplaced a few of their unemployment advantages.

Congress voted to finish federal compensation provided for the reason that pandemic started, together with the $300 weekly stipend for these and not using a job. The advantages ran out in Maine on Saturday.

Laura Fortman, commissioner of the Maine Division of Labor, says roughly 21,000 Mainers will likely be affected by this choice, however with new unemployment claims at their lowest since March 2020, now was the proper time for the non permanent provisions to finish.

“In Maine, our unemployment fee is 4.9 p.c,” Fortman mentioned. “We have now steadily seen that quantity go down, and we’ve additionally steadily seen the variety of jobs growing.”

The DOL says for the reason that pandemic started, Maine has spent greater than $2.4 billion in unemployment advantages, together with $1.8 billion from these federal applications.

Maine’s companies have been spending too. Mason’s Brewing Firm in Brewer is hiring. Normal Supervisor Jake Bridges is specializing in preserving his staff with bonuses and different perks.

“Taking actually excellent care throughout the board of those who bust their butt,” Bridges mentioned. “They’re the engine of your restaurant. The kitchen’s the engine, and in the event you don’t have that, it’s a reasonably automotive nevertheless it doesn’t go wherever.”

Bridges is hopeful that the tip of the stipend will result in extra individuals searching for jobs.

“I hope it helps,” Bridges mentioned. “I hope it will get individuals popping out and again into the workforce. They’re going to see much more aggressive wages, and I hope that’s throughout the board.”

“It’s a multi-faceted problem,” Fortman mentioned. “I believe employers and employees are stepping up and making changes of their lives as a way to accommodate this.”

Though the federal pandemic advantages have ended, Mainers can nonetheless apply for state unemployment.

The Maine Division of Labor recommends that claimants make the most of its CareerCenter companies, together with hiring occasions, consulting conferences and job matching.

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