AUGUSTA — Maine officials are urging residents that are planning to file unemployment claims to do so online through the beginning of the new year.

The Maine Department of Labor says early January is the busiest time of the year for unemployment claims. The department says people who try to phone in their claims will experience longer wait times.

It says the flood of unemployment claims at the beginning of the year is due to the many layoffs from seasonal jobs after the holidays.

To file a claim online, visit http://www.file4ui.com.