Maine Unemployment Rate 7.6 Percent in August Bookmark and Share

September 21, 2012

State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released August workforce estimates for Maine.

Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

Survey of Households - The preliminary estimate of the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Maine was 7.6 percent in August, unchanged from July and little changed from 7.5 percent one year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 54,000 were unemployed, up 1,100 over the year. The U.S. unemployment rate estimate was 8.1 percent, down from 8.3 percent in July and 9.1 percent one year ago.

Over the year, the share of the population that was employed was little changed both in Maine and the nation (60.1 percent of Maine residents were employed, remaining above the U.S. average of 58.3 percent). The decline in the U.S. unemployment rate during that period was due to lower labor force participation, as the number of jobless people not searching for work increased 2.7 million (those not actively looking for work are not counted as unemployed). Maine did not have a similar sharp drop in labor force participation to cause a corresponding drop in the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate for New England was 7.3 percent; rates in other states were 5.7 percent in New Hampshire, 5.3 percent in Vermont, 6.3 percent in Massachusetts, 10.7 percent in Rhode Island and 9.0 percent in Connecticut.

Survey of Employer Payrolls - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary estimates indicate there were 591,300 nonfarm payroll jobs in August, down 1,900 from the revised July estimate. U.S. nonfarm payroll jobs were up 96,000 in August.

As the nearby chart indicates, monthly nonfarm payroll jobs estimates continue to be more volatile than the lagging, complete count of wage and salary jobs collected through unemployment insurance tax filings of employers. Data through June 2011 has been benchmarked to the complete count; estimates after June 2011 are likely to be much smoother once they are revised in March 2013.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in August, unchanged from one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 5.4 percent in Lincoln & Knox Counties to 9.6 percent in Washington County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and coastal counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.

Among metro areas, the unemployment rate was below the statewide average in Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (5.5 percent) and higher than the statewide average in Bangor (7.0 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (7.2 percent).

This release is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri. Detailed labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and 31 labor market areas; nonfarm jobs data for the state and the three metropolitan areas; and much more data is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/data.html.

September data is scheduled for release October 19.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2012 Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192