Maine’s unemployment outlook unchanged in January

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Maine’s unemployment rate was unchanged from December 2021 to January 2022. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1% in January. 

The number of unemployed people in the state also remained unchanged from December 2021 at 28,200. According to the Maine Department of Labor (DOL), December’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.7% was revised to 4.1%.

The DOL also reported the state’s labor force participation rate was little changed in January at 59.3%.

Maine’s three-month unemployment rate average through January was 4.2%. According to to the DOL, “[a]verages for November to January decreased from the prior three-month period through October for each labor force metric: the unemployment rate decreased 0.4 percentage points; the labor force participation rate decreased 0.2 points; and the employment to population ratio decreased 0.4 points.”

The number of seasonally-adjusted nonfarm wage and salary jobs in Maine rose to 631,800 in January, an increase of 3,500 jobs. The sectors with the largest gains in the number of jobs available were healthcare and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, and construction.

The three-month average of available jobs through January increased by 4,600 from the previous three-month period, which went through October 2021. According to the DOL, almost 80% of the increase was in leisure and hospitality. 

“The three-month average of jobs through January was higher than the pre-pandemic average for 2019 in professional and business services, construction, manufacturing, and educational services; it was lower in healthcare and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, state and local governments, and retail trade,” noted the Maine DOL in a press release.

The number of healthcare jobs available in Maine in January increased by 900. There were 100,600 jobs available in healthcare and social assistance in December 2021 and 101,500 available in January. While healthcare jobs grew between December and January, the number of jobs available in January 2022 decreased by 2,500 from a year ago.

For labor force estimates that are not seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate in eight Maine counties was at least 0.3% higher than the statewide average of 4.3% in January. An additional two counties had an unemployment rate at least 0.3% lower than the state average and the rate was close to the state average in six counties. Washington County had the highest unemployment rate in January and Sagadahoc County had the lowest unemployment rate.

Unemployment was below the state average in the Portland-South Portland metro area and close to the average in the metro areas of Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn.

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