AUGUSTA – Maine’s jobless rate dropped to 6.2 percent in the month of December, the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) reported Tuesday.
The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate for Maine was 6.2 percent in December, down from 6.4 percent in November and 7.2 percent one year ago, according to MDOL.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated 44,300 were unemployed, a drop of 6,500 since last year. According to BLS, Maine’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 6.7 percent, which dropped 0.3 percent from November. Maine’s unemployment rate is also better than the New England average of 6.8 percent.
“Rates for other states were 5.1 percent in New Hampshire, 4.2 percent in Vermont, 7.0 percent in Massachusetts, 9.1 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.4 percent in Connecticut,” according to the MDOL press release.
When Gov. Paul LePage took office in January of 2011, Maine’s unemployment rate sat at 8 percent. Under his administration, Maine has experienced a nearly 23 percent decline in the jobless rate.
Digging further into the unemployment numbers reveals even more good news for Maine’s economy.
According to MDOL, Maine’s workforce participation rate, i.e. the proportion of the population that currently holds a job, remains higher than the national average. Nationally the rate is 58.6 percent, but in Maine the rate is 61.2 percent.
But perhaps the most telling statistic of all is displayed in the following chart (click to enlarge):
Since LePage entered office, the number of Mainers employed in the private sector has grown while the number of people employed by government has shrunk. That means more people creating value and earning paychecks through free enterprise and fewer people earning their paychecks from taxpayers.
Maine’s improving economy is sure to play a large role in LePage’s reelection campaign. While his opponents, unenrolled candidate Eliot Cutler and Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, have and will continue to criticize the LePage administration’s economic policies, the governor can point to non-partisan statistical evidence showing his policies’ success.
In a press release, the LePage attributed the declining jobless rate to taxation and regulatory reform enacted by his administration.
“We have been working hard for three years to improve the business climate in Maine so our companies can do what they do best: create jobs,” said LePage. “We have reduced taxes, cut red tape, streamlined regulations and made fiscally responsible decisions to right-size government. All of these factors make Maine more competitive in attracting and retaining jobs.”
Editor, Maine Wire
Many State Employees are dedicated, hard working and add significant value to our State’s economy. In fact, this article used statistics and graphs prepared by MDOL employees. Use your investigative skills and specifically explain how the reduction in FTEs added value and how the current level of FTEs devalues Maine’s economy.