In this April 28, 2020, file photo, a message is written on the front window of the Raging Bull Saloon in Augusta. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

The number of Mainers filing for state unemployment insurance benefits has fallen for a sixth straight week. The Maine Department of Labor on Thursday reported 2,025 people filed first-time claims, down from 2,158 the week before.

The current number still shows an economy that is putting more people out of work than was the case pre-pandemic. One year ago, the same week in mid-February generated only 790 first-time claims for benefits.

In addition, 454 Mainers applied for benefits under the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program. It pays benefits to freelance workers and workers in the gig economy, like drivers for Uber and Lyft, Instacart shoppers and other independent contractors. The latest applications for federal aid are higher than they were a week ago.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.