Maine Unemployment Rate 7.3 Percent in February Bookmark and Share

March 29, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2013
Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

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

Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

Survey of Households - The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate for Maine was 7.3 percent in February, unchanged from January and one year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 51,700 were unemployed, down 300 over the year. The U.S. unemployment rate was estimated at 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in January and 8.3 percent one year ago.

When comparing unemployment rates it is important to be aware of what underlies them. Maine continues to have higher labor force participation than the nation. If the U.S. labor force participation rate were as high as the Maine average, the national unemployment rate would be near ten percent.

Because differences in labor force participation skew unemployment rates, the employment to population ratio provides a better basis for comparing workforce conditions to the nation. Maine had a higher share of employed population than the nation for the 65th consecutive month in February (60.3 percent compared to 58.6 percent for the U.S.).

(NOTE: The labor force participation rate is the share of the population age 16+ working or actively seeking work. Jobless people not looking for work are not counted as unemployed and are not in the labor force. The employment to population ratio is the share of the population age 16+ that is employed.)

The unemployment rate estimate for New England was 7.0 percent; estimates for other states were 5.8 percent in New Hampshire, 4.4 percent in Vermont, 6.5 percent in Massachusetts, 9.4 percent in Rhode Island and 8.0 percent in Connecticut.

Survey of Employer Payrolls – Preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate there were 598,100 nonfarm payroll jobs in February, up 2,300 from the revised January estimate. The estimate of U.S. nonfarm payroll jobs was up 236,000.

(NOTE: When using nonfarm payroll jobs estimates, it is important to know that they tend to be volatile from month to month. When estimates for the period from October 2012 to September 2013 are replaced with actual payroll data in March 2014, they are likely to show less volatility.)

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in February, down from 8.5 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 6.3 percent in Cumberland County to 12.9 percent in Washington County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.

The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (6.7 percent), Bangor (7.6 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (7.8 percent). This release is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html. 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 http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/data.html .

March data will be released Friday, April 19.