2014 Gubernatorial Campaign

Maine’s unemployment rate at 5.5 percent

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Maine UI - JuneAUGUSTA – Maine’s unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent for the month of July – the lowest since August of 2008, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

“Since we took office, almost 22,000 private-sector jobs have been created in Maine,” Gov. Paul R. LePage said in a statement.

Maine’s unemployment rate was well below the U.S. average of 6.2 percent and below the New England average of 5.8 percent. Rates for other New England states were 4.4 percent in New Hampshire, 3.7 percent in Vermont, 5.6 percent in Massachusetts, 7.7 percent in Rhode Island, and 6.6 percent in Connecticut.

“We have made progress, but we cannot stop now. Maine is still facing economic challenges from decades of failed policies from the past,” said LePage. 

The LePage administration also highlighted Maine’s employment-to-population ratio – a measure of the proportion of working-age Mainers in the workforce. At 61.4 percent, July was the 82nd consecutive month with Maine’s workforce participation rate above the national average.

Gov to Priv - June

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These employment gains come despite – or perhaps because of — reforms implemented by the LePage administration that have shrunk the size of state government by 1,300 state workers. “Government accounted for only 16.3 percent of nonfarm jobs in June and July, its lowest share since May 1999,” according to the administration.

Not everyone in Maine is pleased with positive indicators of Maine’s economic health. Democrats and a Democrat-funded think tank continued to assail Maine’s economy with some questionable statistics.

The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP), a liberal think tank that receives money from Maine’s top Democratic donor, S. Donald Sussman, continued to harp on its months-old report alleging that Maine’s economy under LePage is underperforming.

“Maine has recovered 63% of nonfarm payroll jobs lost during the recession. By comparison, the US has recovered 106% of jobs lost during the recession and New England has recovered 116%,” MECEP said in their report.

In stark contrast to these numbers, the New York Times reported in June, “only three states — Maine, Texas and Utah — have retraced more than half their losses” in employment since the recession ended in 2011.

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson was the editor of The Maine Wire from 2013 through 2014. A native of Dexter, Maine, Robinson is a graduate of Bowdoin College, and is currently a Producer for The Howie Carr Show in Boston.

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