Maine Unemployment Rate 6.8 Percent in May Bookmark and Share

June 21, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 21, 2013
Contact: Glenn Mills, 207-621-5192

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

Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

Survey of Households - The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate for Maine was 6.8 percent in May, little changed from 6.9 percent in April and down from 7.3 percent one year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 48,200 were unemployed, down 3,600 over the year. The unemployment rate was the lowest since November 2008.

In the last three years the U.S. unemployment rate declined more rapidly than it has in Maine. This occurred despite the fact that the share of the population that is employed did not increase nationally but did increase in Maine. Declining labor force participation drove U.S. unemployment rates lower, a trend that did not occur in Maine. May was the 68th consecutive month Maine had a higher share of employed population than the nation — 60.9 percent compared to 58.6 percent. (Jobless people not actively looking for work are not counted as unemployed; they are not in the labor force.)

A series of recent reports on GDP, personal income, and jobs indicate Maine has been among the slowest growing states in the nation. The state faces significant impediments to growth this decade because our prime working-age population is declining, a pattern that is not occurring nationally. This trend is the product of far fewer births after the 1960s. Declines in the population age 25 to 54 will be greatest between 2010 and 2015, averaging 7,700 per year. As a result, we should not expect Maine to be among the faster growing states.

The U.S. unemployment rate was estimated at 7.6 percent, little changed from 7.5 percent in April and down from 8.2 percent one year ago. The New England unemployment rate was 6.9 percent; estimates for other states were 5.3 percent in New Hampshire, 4.1 percent in Vermont, 6.6 percent in Massachusetts, 8.9 percent in Rhode Island, and 8.0 percent in Connecticut.

(NOTE: Preliminary unemployment rate estimates tend to move in a direction for several months and then move in the opposite direction for several months. This pattern often reflects an estimating methodology rather than improvement or deterioration in conditions. Annual revisions to labor force estimates that will be published in March 2014 usually remove those directional trends.) Survey of Employer Payrolls – Preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate there were 600,400 nonfarm payroll jobs in May, up 2,400 from the revised April estimate. The estimate of U.S. nonfarm payroll jobs was up 175,000.

(NOTE: Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month. Estimates for the period from October 2012 to September 2013 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2014. The revised job count is likely to show less volatility than monthly estimates.)

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data##

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in May, down from 7.3 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 5.5 percent in Cumberland County to 10.1 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 (5.6 percent), Bangor (6.6 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (6.7 percent).

This release is available at http://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 is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/data.html .

June data will be released Friday, July 19.

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