Edition for Tuesday, May 26, 2020
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your Daily Impact newsletter!
As a valued member of
the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, we plan to stay in touch with you every
afternoon, through emails like this one and on Facebook and Twitter, until the pandemic passes. We
intend to provide you with the latest state and federal information, as well
as highlighting the creativity and innovation that is occuring here in Maine
during this unpredictable and rapidly changing time. To assist you in
navigating the uncertainties ahead, we have created a diverse and
comprehensive collection of web-based resources to help you take care of yourself and your family, your employees, your business, and your community.
Do you have a question? ASK THE EXPERTS.
We are here to
help in any way we can!
Maine Expands Contact
Tracing to Limit the Spread of COVID-19
Governor Janet Mills announced
today that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is significantly
expanding contact tracing by increasing the number of skilled staff
and volunteers, harnessing innovative technology, and securing social
services to help people with COVID-19 maintain self-isolation.
The State's expanded contact tracing parallels its major increase in testing capacity. Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and protecting people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent their transmitting infection to others. Taken together, testing and contract tracing enable Maine to identify, investigate, and isolate individuals with COVID-19 to prevent its spread in the absence of effective treatment or a vaccine.
Nearly 3 out of 4 Maine Small Businesses Have Received
Funding Through the Paycheck Protection Program
Senator Susan Collins, the co-author of the Paycheck Protection Program
(PPP), announced today that nearly 3 out of 4 Maine small businesses have
received forgivable PPP loans. A new
survey by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that the PPP has distributed these
funds to 73.1 percent of small businesses in the state.
"The Paycheck Protection Program has been an extraordinary success, providing a lifeline to nearly three out of every four small businesses across Maine. In addition, this program is helping to ensure that paychecks continue to be sent to approximately 200,000 Mainers," said Senator Collins. "The numbers speak for themselves. The PPP is making a real difference by allowing small businesses to stay afloat and continue to pay their workers."
Thursday, Senator Collins introduced the Paycheck Protection Program
Extension Act, which would extend the PPP to reflect the fact that economic
shutdowns have lasted longer than originally anticipated, and to provide
small employers with more flexibility in the use of loan funds, such as
purchasing personal protective equipment for their employees.
JOIN US TOMORROW!
2020 Maine State Chamber Health Care Forum
Wednesday, May 27 | 10:00 to 11:15 a.m.
YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:
Premier Sponsor: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Sheild
Maine State Chamber Health Care Forum will
focus on the changing nature of coverage in Maine; both through legislation
and through innovation. The program
will be virtual, and roughly an hour in length. We will begin with a presentation by Denise
McDonough, President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. Her presentation will focus on innovation
in the marketplace, and cost saving initiatives being undertaken by
Anthem. After that, there will be a
panel discussion that includes Kristine Ossenfort, Senior Government Relations
Director at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, and the Maine
Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa, to discuss the legislative events of
this past session, and the policy changes that were enacted by lawmakers that
are likely to impact the individual and small group markets, both in terms of
policies, coverage and price. Join us for what promises to be an interesting
and informative session.
Maine's Unemployment Rate
Skyrockets, Though Less Than National Rate
Late last week, Mainebiz
reported that Maine's
unemployment rate more than tripled in April to
10.6%, according to the state Department of Labor. The number of nonfarm jobs
in Maine plummeted by 98,400 during the month, the sharpest loss ever in the
month of April, and left the state with 531,700, the lowest total since July
1994. Every economic sector and every region were affected. The unemployment
rate, based on data that had not been seasonally adjusted, was lowest in
Kennebec County, at 10.1%, and highest in Oxford County, at 14%.
But despite its dizzying new
height, the unemployment rate for Maine was significantly below the national
rate of 14.7% in April, the Labor Department said in a news release. In
March, Maine recorded an unemployment rate of 3.2%, the same rate as in
February, and the 51st consecutive month in which the rate was below 4%. Job
losses were a relatively modest 7,200.
Job losses between February
and April impacted every major industry sector. The largest decrease was in
leisure and hospitality, where 42,600 jobs were lost, representing 61% of
jobs in that sector, and 40% of jobs lost in all sectors. State economist
Glenn Mills cautioned in the release that the numbers may still
under-represent the full effect of the crisis.
Maine DOL Explains Process
for Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation
Extended Benefits for Exhaustees Rolling this Week:
Additional weeks of unemployment benefits will be retroactively available to
people who have exhausted
their state unemployment benefits. These additional weeks are
available to anyone whose benefit year ends on or after July 1, 2019, and who
remains otherwise eligible. Benefits will be paid retroactively to the week
ending March 21, 2020, or the week following state unemployment exhaustion,
whichever is later. The weekly certifications must be filed for those weeks
in order for payments to be made. Those that have not filed for the week
ending March 21 or later need to log in to their ReEmployME
account to file those certifications.
Maine Lost 1,700
Construction Jobs From March to April
The Portland Press Herald
reported that Maine lost roughly 1,700 construction jobs in April - nearly 6
percent of all Maine jobs in the industry - as projects were postponed or
canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. A report issued by construction
trade group Associated General Contractors of America placed Maine near the
middle of the pack in terms of the percentage of construction job losses
among all 50 states and Washington, D.C., from March to April. With a one-month
loss of 5.7 percent, Maine
ranked No. 19 for lowest percentage of job losses.
The No. 1-ranked state was
South Dakota, which actually gained 500 construction jobs - about 2 percent -
from March to April, it said. The lowest-ranked state was Vermont, which lost
6,800 construction jobs - roughly 46 percent - from March to April. Maine had
a smaller share of construction job losses than any other New England state,
according to the trade group. Massachusetts was ranked No. 47 with 60,000
jobs lost - about 37 percent - over the one-month period. New Hampshire was
ranked No. 38 with 3,200 jobs lost - about 11 percent.
Coronavirus Has Led to a Pared-Down School Year that Looks
Different District by District
Bangor Daily News reported today that while Maine schools' remote learning
strategies have become longer-term and more digitally oriented as school
shutdowns have continued, teachers and school district leaders agree that
public education overall is more pared down than it was in the
will remain that way until schools can reopen.
Maine Department of Education allowed school districts to develop their own
remote learning plans, so they've looked different district to district,
spokesperson Kelli Deveaux said.
students are well suited to online learning while others, including some who
did well in the classroom, have been struggling, Geoffrey Wingard, chair of
the history department at Bangor High School, said. Whether it's their
preferred learning style or not, 79 of Wingard's 80 students are at least
participating in the new format.
difference for Bangor students is that teachers aren't holding scheduled
online classes in which all students participate, even as teachers upload
lessons - including videos and other materials - to Google Classroom for
students to complete and hold online office hours.
A Virtual Update
Maine State Chamber of Commerce, together with local and regional chambers of
commerce, invites you to our Regional Breakfast Meetings, held virtually on
Zoom. As a local business leader, your valuable insight is instrumental to
this open dialogue about issues that affect your business, your community and
your state. We need your expertise and input to make recommendations and to
identify opportunities for moving Maine's economic future in a positive
attending one of our annual statewide breakfast series meetings is an ideal
way for you, the Maine business leader, to interact with business associates,
new and prospective Maine State Chamber members, and state representatives in
a relaxed setting. This year, due to the COVID-19 situation, we will be
hosting this event online as a coffee, so fill your cup and join the
conversation from the comfort of your home.
YOU TO OUR SERIES SPONSORS:
Systems, Inc.; Central Maine Power Company; Maine Department of Economic
& Community Development; Northeast Delta Dental; Versant Power; VHB
Thursday, May 28
from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, June 3 from
9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
session is a program of
Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce
10:00 to 11:00 a.m.
How will employers support the
new work from home model while maintaining business continuity with a work-from-home
workforce? How will employers use this new paradigm to Maine's advantage in
the future? What happens when most or all of the workforce starts working
from home? How can we use this as a positive spin in the future for employees
and future employees?
Our panel of presenters
* Laurie Mitchell, Assitant Vive
President of Global Wellbeing and Health Management at Unum;
* Matt McGrath, President and
CEO of Systems Engineering;
* Nate Wildes, Executive Director of Live and Work in Maine; and,
* Katie Shorey, Director of
Engagement for Live and Work in Maine.
today and plan to join us Thursday, June 4 at 10:00 a.m. for
this important webinar presentation.
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