Maine’s unemployment rate remained largely unchanged between August and September. The unemployment rate ticked down slightly, from 4.9% in August to 4.8% in September.
The unemployment rate has been either 4.8% or 4.9% for the last eight months.
According to the Department of Labor (DOL), September’s “surge of coronavirus cases” set back jobs recovery, resulting in 3,000 fewer nonfarm payroll jobs than in August.
The DOL also revised the number of nonfarm payroll jobs available in the state for the month of August. When it initially released data on the employment situation for August, the DOL reported a decrease of 1,200 in the number of nonfarm payroll jobs. With this month’s release it updated that number to 3,500.
The DOL also reported that one-third of the decrease in available jobs came from public and private education, both K-12 and higher education. The rest of the decrease came from the manufacturing, professional and business services, and healthcare and social assistance sectors, as well as other services.
Health care and social assistance lost 600 jobs between August and September. The number of people employed in health care is down 400 jobs from September 2020.
Overall, there are 28,100 fewer jobs in the state than in February 2020, before COVID-19 impacted the labor market. Since February 2020, the sectors that have recovered the fewest jobs are leisure and hospitality, state and local government education (K-12 and higher ed), and healthcare and social assistance.
Despite the decrease in the number of jobs, the number of payroll jobs available in the state has increased by 12,000 over the last year. Sectors with the largest gains include leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and the wholesale and retail trade sectors.
September’s 4.8% unemployment rate is 1.7% higher than in 2020 and the labor force participation rate is 2.2 points lower.
The DOL reported that the increase in unemployment numbers since February 2020 is partially reflected in the increase in the number of people who have become unemployed, approximately 11,300 people. The lower labor force participation rate accounts for the remainder of the decrease. According to the DOL, if labor force participation were as high in September as in February 2020, the unemployment rate would be 8.2%