New claims for state unemployment benefits dipped slightly last week as many workers continue to struggle for employment amid the coronavirus recession.

The state logged about 2,800 new or reopened claims for state unemployment benefits, down from 3,300 a week earlier and the lowest weekly total since late December. Still, the number remained far above the roughly 950 initial state claims filed a year earlier.

About 400 claims were filed last week for federal jobless benefits, the Maine Department of Labor reported. In total, about 3,200 individuals filed an initial claim or reopened a claim, the department said. The number of claims is often larger than the number of individual claimants because of overlap between state and federal aid programs.

The four-week average of new claims is still higher than at any point since July, according to department data. About 48,300 weekly claims were filed for continuing jobless benefits.

Nationally, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell but remained at a historically high 847,000 last week, a sign that layoffs keep coming as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, The Associated Press reported.

Last week’s claims dropped by 67,000, from 914,000 the week before, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday, according to the AP. Before the virus hit the United States hard last March, weekly applications for jobless aid had never topped 700,000, it said.


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