Maine unemployment rate 2.9% in December

Feb 09, 2020

Augusta — The Maine Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have released December 2019 workforce estimates for the state. Maine's unemployment rate in December was 2.9%.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate of 2.9% for December is little changed from 2.8% in November and down from 3.5% one year ago. The number of unemployed is down 4,700 over the year to 19,700. Maine’s unemployment rate has been below 4.0% for 48 consecutive months.

Unemployment decreased from the prior year in all 16 counties and was the lowest on record for December in Waldo County, among others. In Waldo County, unemployment shrank to 3%, down from 3.6% in December 2018.

The preliminary estimate of 635,300 nonfarm payroll jobs in December is up 7,400 from one year ago. The private sector estimate of 535,100 jobs is up 7,400 over the year, with the largest job gains in the construction, leisure and hospitality, and retail trade sectors. The government estimate of 100,200 jobs has not changed significantly in the last five years. The 15.8% share of jobs in government remains the lowest on record.

The employment-to-population ratio estimate for Maine of 60.5% is slightly lower than the 61.0% U.S. average for November. (Labor force and unemployment estimates are based on the population age 16 and over. The lower rate in Maine reflects the fact that we have a higher share of retirement-age population.)

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 2.8% for December is down from 3.4% one year ago. Unemployment estimates are lowest for Sagadahoc and Cumberland County (2.2%) and highest for Somerset County (4.5%).

Unemployment rates decreased from one year ago in all 16 counties and are the lowest on record for December in Hancock, Kennebec, Oxford, Penobscot, Waldo and Washington Counties (previous lows for other counties were in 1999, 2000, or 2017). Rates are also the lowest on record in the Bangor metropolitan area (2.7%). The rate in Portland-South Portland was 2.3% and in Lewiston-Auburn was 2.7%.

Due to annual data revisions, release of January 2020 estimates will be delayed until Monday, March 16. Revised data for prior years, including 2019 annual averages, will be published Wednesday, March 4. (Data Release Schedule).



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