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Maine’s unemployment rate remained at 4.9% in October

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Maine’s workforce conditions in October were little changed from September according to new data released by the Department of Labor (DOL) on November 19.

Though the number of nonfarm payroll jobs in the state increased by 900 to 613,700, the state’s overall unemployment rate remained at 4.9%. Maine’s unemployment rate has been either 4.8% or 4.9% for the past nine months. 

Despite an increase in the number of jobs available in June and July, the DOL reports the number of available jobs has remained “largely unchanged since March.”

The labor force participation rate also remained unchanged from September at 60.4%. 

The DOL revised the estimated number of jobs available in September upwards by 800.

The state has recovered roughly half the jobs lost over the course of the pandemic. The DOL reported that in October, there were 26,400 fewer jobs than in February 2020. But over the course of the past year, the number of payroll jobs available has increased by 12,700.

Half of the jobs lost in the state since February 2020 were in the leisure and hospitality sector. One quarter were in state and local government. An additional 15% were in healthcare and social assistance. The largest job gains since that time were made in the leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and professional and business service sectors.

Private sector jobs grew between September and October, increasing from 516,200 to 517,700. Government jobs decreased, falling from 96,500 in September to 95,900 in October.

The DOL reported that the 1,500 job increase in the private sector, which occurred mostly in manufacturing and the leisure and hospitality sectors, was offset by the 600 job decrease in government. Most of those losses came from local government jobs. 

The number of jobs available in the leisure and hospitality sector grew by 900 from September to October. Despite the gain, the number of jobs available is lower than in June, when the number of people employed by the industry peaked in 2021 at 59,800.

This pattern is typical for the state. Leisure and hospitality employment usually peaks during the busy summer months, when tourism is highest. There were 3,500 more people employed in the leisure and hospitality sector in October than a year ago. 

About Katherine Revello

Katherine Revello is a reporter for The Maine Wire. She has degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Maine. Her writing has appeared in Reason, The Washington Examiner, and various other publications. Got news tips? Contact Katherine at krevello@mainepolicy.org.

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