Maine workers, labor groups warn of widespread suffering unless federal jobless aid is extended

Portland Press Herald

Cutting aid while the country is still in a crisis could have devastating effects on the local economy, too. Maine’s unemployment rate was 9 percent in May, though labor economists think the true rate could be double that after correcting for data errors. More than 87,000 Maine workers filed continuing unemployment claims last week.

Those workers are still able to pay at least part of their rent, buy groceries and essentials and keep up with bills, said James Myall, a policy analyst at the progressive Maine Center for Economic Policy. That could be threatened if the increased aid goes away, with a cascade effect on the state’s economy, he said.

“Unemployment compensation is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus,” he said. “If Congress fails to act and we do not receive the support, the people of Maine will quite simply fall off an economic cliff.”

Click here to read the full story, first published July 10, 2020, in the Portland Press Herald.