More than 2,000 Mainers filed new claims for unemployment aid last week as the number of people receiving aid remained stubbornly high.

About 2,150 people filed initial claims for federal and state unemployment benefits in the second week of October, the Maine Department of Labor reported Thursday. The number was down slightly from about 2,300 claimants the previous week, but higher than weekly initial claims in early September.

Maine has a seasonal labor market that employs more people in the summer months, when tourism is at its height. Unemployment typically increases as the weather cools and tourists disperse.

“Initial claims generally start to rise seasonally in October – we typically see a slight uptick in claims as summer ends and we move into fall and winter,” Department of Labor spokeswoman Jessica Picard.

However, the pace of economic recovery and job growth has slowed since this spring and may have some bearing on the increase in new claims.

The department said it recorded about 1,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 670 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a total of 2,370 initial claims. The number of claims can exceed the number of people filing for benefits because of overlap between state and federal aid programs.

The number of continuing unemployment claims filed last week was roughly 52,150, down slightly from 53,900 the previous week. That figure includes state benefits, federal benefits to those who do not qualify for state benefits, and extended benefits for those whose regular eligibility period has expired.

Nationally, the number of unemployment claims filed last week fell slightly to a still-high 840,000, evidence that job cuts remain elevated seven months into the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press reported.

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