Maine’s unemployment rate was 2.8 percent in July, down from 3 percent in June, and averaged 3 percent in the three months between May and July. The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) also reported that, in the last three months, jobs were down an average of 1,000 over the prior three months.
The labor force participation rate in July was 58.8 percent, down from 59 percent the previous month and 1.3 percent from July 2021. Labor force participation peaked at 60.4 percent following the pandemic in April 2021 and has steadily declined since. While the state’s unemployment rate remains low, thousands of Maine workers have left the workforce since the onset of the pandemic.
The unemployment-to-population ratio was unchanged between June and July at 57.2 percent.
According to the DOL, July’s unemployment “essentially matched rates immediately preceding the pandemic.” DOL also reported the labor force participation and employment rates “remained below those preceding the pandemic.”
The 3 percent unemployment rate average for May through July was 0.6 percent lower than the previous three months, in February through April. During that three month period, the average labor force participation rate decreased and the employment-to-population ratio increased.
There were 635,600 nonfarm wage and salary jobs available in the state in July, an increase of 2,800. DOL reported a “small upward revision” to June’s jobs estimate. Local government, especially schools, leisure and hospitality, retail, and professional and business service saw the largest number of jobs gains.
For the three month period of May through July, jobs decreased an average of 1,000 per month over the previous three months, mostly in leisure and hospitality and retail. DOL reports the three-month average was 0.4 percent lower than the 2019 average. Jobs in the private sector were 0.1 percent higher and government jobs were 2.1 percent lower, mostly in education.
The unemployment rate was at least 0.3 percent higher than the state’s non-seasonally adjusted average in seven counties, at least 0.3 percent lower in five counties, and close to the average in four counties. Sagadahoc County had an average unemployment rate of 2.2 percent, the lowest in the state, and Washington County’s rate of 4 percent was the highest.
Unemployment was at 2.3 percent in the Portland-South Portland metro area. Bangor’s unemployment rate was 2.7 percent and the Lewiston-Auburn metro area had an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent.