May 22, 2020
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Maine unemployment rate more than triples during coronavirus-fueled slowdown

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
The window of Finn's Irish Pub on Main Street in Ellsworth is seen in this April 28, 2020, file photo.

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The state’s several-year streak of low unemployment ended in April, reflecting activities curtailed by the coronavirus and efforts to contain it, according to information released Friday by the Maine Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The April rate was 10.6 percent, more than triple the 3.2 percent rate in March, which represented a record 39 consecutive months below 4 percent. The rate is preliminary and seasonally adjusted.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

The data are based on information collected during the week that includes the 12th of the month, which was the 12th to the 18th in April. The March numbers were low because the survey was done the week before sharp job losses began, the Maine Department of Labor said.

More than 11,500 Mainers filed for unemployment during the week ended May 16, bringing the total to more than 138,000 since March, according to Maine labor department figures released Thursday. Of that number, 4,640 Mainers filed for initial unemployment, while 7,043 initial claims were filed for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Nationally, April’s unemployment rate rose 10.3 percentage points from March to 14.7 percent, the highest rate in record-keeping by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released its data two weeks ago. Some 2.44 million new claims were filed, down 249,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. labor department. That brings the total claims over the past nine weeks to 38.6 million.

Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April. Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality.

National unemployment rates in April rose sharply among all major worker groups. The rate was up 13 percent for adult men, 15.5 percent for adult women, 31.9 percent for teenagers, 14.2 percent for whites, 16.7 percent for blacks, 14.5 percent for Asians and 18.9 percent for Hispanics. All are record highs except for blacks.

Nationally, 2.44 million new claims were filed, down 249,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That brings the total claims over the past nine weeks to 38.6 million.

Some analysts expect the national unemployment to hit 20 percent by the summer.

 


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