Labor

Maine unemployment rate at 3 percent in June

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According to the Maine Department of Labor (DOL), Maine’s employment rate decreased slightly to 3 percent in June 2022, the lowest rate in 27 months. That number is down from May’s 3.2 percent unemployment rate.

The labor force participation rate for June 2022 was at 59 percent, unchanged from the previous month. The employment-to-population ratio for the same month was at 57.2 percent, up 0.1 percent from May.

In a July 22 press release providing estimates for June’s employment situation, DOL also announced revisions to May and April’s unemployment numbers, revising the number of nonfarm wage and salary jobs down by 2,900 in May, and also lowering the estimate for April.

DOL also reported little change to the state’s unemployment situation in the three-month period between April and June 2022. The agency shares data on three-month averages because they “provide a better indication of workforce conditions as they smooth some of the variability in sample-based estimates, and they reflect revisions to estimates for previous months.”

Between April and June 2022, the unemployment rate averaged 3.2 percent, a figure 0.7 percentage points lower than in the previous three month period, running through March. According to DOL, the average labor force participation rate decreased and the employment-to-population ratio increased in the three months between April and June 2022.

The number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm wage and salary jobs available in the state stood at 632,500 in June, a decrease of 3,100 jobs. The estimate of the number of nonfarm wage and salary jobs for May was upwardly revised by 600 jobs.

DOL reported that a seasonal upswing in leisure and hospitality jobs was normal in May and June. 

“An anomaly in seasonal adjustment caused jobs estimates for that sector, and in total, to be understated in those two months. Jobs decreased in retail trade and increased in professional and business services,” the DOL stated.

Jobs in healthcare and social assistance decreased slightly in June, preliminarily estimated at 102,500. The number of jobs in healthcare and social services available in Maine in May was 102,600. That number is also down from a year ago in June 2021, when there were 104,200 jobs available in healthcare and social assistance.

While the May to June three-month average of jobs is 0.2 percent higher than the previous three months, the year-over-year average of jobs available in the sector is down from June 2021.

Overall, in the three-month period ending in June, the average number of jobs available in the state was the same as in the three months through March. The average for the three months between April and June was also 0.3 percent lower than the 2019 average.

The June unemployment rate was at least 0.3 percent higher than the not-seasonally adjusted statewide average of 0.3 percent in six Maine counties. It was 0.3 percent lower than the statewide average in five counties and close to the statewide average in a further five counties. Sagadahoc County had the lowest unemployment rate in June, at 2.4 percent, and Aroostook County’s 4.5 percent unemployment rate was the state’s highest.

In the Portland-South Portland metro area, unemployment was below the statewide average in June, at 2.5 percent. In Bangor and the Lewiston-Auburn area, the unemployment rate was closer to the statewide average, at 2.9 percent in Bangor and 3.1 percent in Lewiston-Auburn.

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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