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Unemployment rates are declining

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 10:25 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -The Mills administration recently announced The Back to Work program, which will provide employers a one-time $1,500 payment for eligible workers who start jobs between June 15 and June 30 or a $1,000 payment for eligible workers who start jobs in July.  But has this incentive decreased unemployment rates?  Megan Cole spoke with the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor and has more.

“In between may and June we’ve seen about a 10% drop.”

Unemployment rates are declining, according to Laura Fortman, the Commissioner for the Maine Department of Labor. Recently, the mills administration unveiled the back to work program, which will provide employers a one-time $1,500 payment for eligible workers who start jobs between June 15 and June 30 or a $1,000 payment for eligible workers who start their job in July. Fortman says employers have to apply for the back to work program for employees to receive the incentive.  She says industries are very interested.

“All of the industries association have promoted this to their so the chamber of commerce, NFIB, the retail association, the hospitality association have all made their members aware of it and I think the programs only been up a little less than two weeks so I think people are starting to learn about the program and how to participate.”

Commissioner Fortman says there are requirements in order for a new employee to receive the incentives.  People will have to be making 25 dollars an hour or less, have been on unemployment insurance since May 29th, and have to work at the position for 8 weeks from their start date. Fortman says it’s still a little too early to tell if the program will work.

“We won’t be able to tell how many until 8 weeks have expired because you’re not actually eligible for the bonus until that final 8 week and we will need confirmation from employers.”

If you’re interested in applying, visit maine.gov/covid19/backtoworkgrants.

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