Maine Unemployment Rate 6.2 Percent in December Bookmark and Share

January 28, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2014
Contact: Glenn Mills, 207-621-5192

State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released December workforce estimates for Maine. Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

Survey of Households - The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate for Maine was 6.2 percent in December, down from 6.4 percent in November and 7.2 percent one year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 44,300 were unemployed, down 6,500 over the year.

Maine continues to have a higher share of employed population than the U.S. (61.2% vs. 58.6%). A rising employment to population ratio has been the primary factor in declining unemployment rates in Maine the last three years. This stands in significant contrast to the nation, which has had no improvement in the share of employed population in four years. U.S. unemployment rate declines have been entirely due to lower labor force participation as millions of jobless people have stopped looking for work. (Jobless people not looking for work are not counted as unemployed – they are not in the labor force.) December was the 75th consecutive month the share of employed population exceeded the U.S. average.

The U.S. unemployment rate estimate was 6.7 percent, down from 7.0 percent in November and 7.9 percent one year ago. The New England estimate was 6.8 percent. Rates for other states were 5.1 percent in New Hampshire, 4.2 percent in Vermont, 7.0 percent in Massachusetts, 9.1 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.4 percent in Connecticut.

Survey of Employer Payrolls – The preliminary estimate of nonfarm payroll jobs was 600,400 in December, up 6,500 from one year ago according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private sector jobs have gradually trended up since 2010, primarily in the professional & business services, healthcare, and leisure & hospitality sectors. Jobs in all three levels of government trended lower during that period.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in December, down from 7.3 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 4.6 percent in Cumberland County to 9.3 percent in Piscataquis 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 metropolitan areas: Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (4.9 percent), Bangor (5.6 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (5.6 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 .

Due to annual benchmark revisions, release of January data will be delayed until Monday, March 17. The data release schedule is at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html .

NOTES:

  1. Preliminary unemployment estimates for Maine tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (to be published in March) will moderate those directional patterns. A chart illustrating preliminary estimates compared to annually revised figures for the last two years is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/revisions.html .

  2. 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 and updated seasonal adjustment factors will be incorporated for the previous four years. That data is likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates.

-end-