PORTLAND — Unemployment in Maine will be the topic of a public forum this week at the University of Southern Maine.

Wednesday’s forum at USM’s Portland campus will explore what organizers call Maine’s continuing unemployment crisis. Forum panelists will look back at labor history and forward to where this problem may lead. The state Labor Department says Maine’s latest unemployment rate is 7 percent.

The forum comes as some political leaders suggest that unemployed workers are at least partially responsible for their own plight and have advocated cutting or erecting barriers to unemployment benefits.

The forum, which will take place at 7 p.m. in Talbot Hall (former Luther Bonney Auditorium), will be led by former Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman.

The event is co-sponsored by the Frances Perkins Center, League of Young Voters, Working America and other groups.

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