According to a release from the Maine Department of Labor, unemployment claims in Maine have now fallen to their lowest levels in decades.
Initial claims of unemployment, which are defined as individuals filing for unemployment benefits for the first time, fell to the lowest point in the 30-year look back of Maine unemployment data.
An average of just 883 individuals filed for initial unemployment benefits as of the week ending July 4.
Continuing claims of unemployment, or individuals receiving benefits after filing their initial claim, also fell in the week of July 4 to the lowest level since 2000. An average of 6,912 filed for continuing unemployment claims, while 6,794 had filed for continuing unemployment benefits in the same time period in 2000.
In the release, Governor LePage noted that “this news is encouraging, and we continue to see signs of an improving economy.”
LePage went on to say “But we are not yet at full employment statewide, so there is more work to do. We must do all we can to make the changes that will make Maine more competitive and grow our economy.”
Additionally, the average period that an individual is unemployed has shortened by nearly one week since last year. After losing their job, an individual is now unemployed for an average of 13.8 weeks, compared to 14.5 weeks in May 2014.
Unemployment claims typically fall during the summer months, as many individuals are employed in seasonal positions and are not filing for unemployment.
The number of unemployment claims also does not represent the number of unemployed individuals. Not every unemployed individual files for unemployment benefits, thus the number of unemployed individuals tends to be higher than the number of unemployment claims. However, both figures tend to rise and fall in sync.