Unemployment Benefits Extended 

Thousands of Mainers will qualify for extended unemployment benefits because of the state’s high unemployment rate.

The Maine Labor Department says the rising unemployment rate, which rose to 7 percent in December, has triggered a 13-week extension of federal benefits.

The move extends emergency benefits to 33 weeks, on top of 26 weeks of regular benefits.

As a result, an estimated 2,477 Mainers who have exhausted their first round of emergency benefits will qualify for extended benefits.

Maine qualified for more emergency benefits because it had a three-month average unemployment rate of at least 6 percent.